The 61-year-old was stripped of his ownership of SMM through a controversial “reconstruction” law giving the minister of justice power to take over “state-indebted” companies while divesting shareholders and directors of control.
Patrick Chinamasa, who was the minister of justice in 2004, went on to appoint Arafas Gwaradzimba to assume control and management of SMM.
Now Mawere, who is based in South Africa, has written to ZACC effectively accusing SMM administrators of appropriating his 2 Durland Close property in Mt Pleasant, Harare.
“I am bringing this matter to your attention as an independent commission created to fight corruption and crime. It is not in dispute that unlike a judicial manager, Mr Arafas Gwaradzimba draws his power from the state. He was appointed by the minister of justice. He therefore falls within the ambit of ZACC and as such ZACC possesses inherent jurisdiction to investigate thus matter,” Mawere pleaded in the March 21 letter.
The businessman forwarded to ZACC several WhatsApp messages he exchanged with Gwaradzimba, in which the SMM administrator admitted that the asbestos miner was indeed leasing out Mawere’s property – even as he admitted that SMM did not own the house.
Gwaradzimba pleaded with Mawere to give them three months to give an eviction notice to the current tenant, whom he does not name. Gwaradzimba also made a commitment that all the rentals collected for the last 17 years would be paid out to Mawere.
We asked Mawere why he had not objected to SMM leasing out his property much earlier. Had he forgotten he owns the property? He shot back: “I didn’t forget about it. What should you expect when you leave your car on the road? Would you expect a person appointed to a position of public trust to touch it or to be the first to refuse to touch it?
“There are no facts to suggest that a thief can acquire title of anything. What should happen to a thief in a constitutional state?”
Specifically, Mawere wants ZACC to “review all the documents including the rental agreements signed between the tenants and SMM in relation to the property, and the flow of funds from the tenants.”
Gwaradzimba told ZimLive he was handling a “global matter” and his energies were not focused on every little detail of SMM business dealings.
“I spoke to Mawere and told him I don’t know anything concerning his Mt Pleasant property, and that I would consult SMM management over the matter. I’m the administrator of SMM and not Mawere’s private property. Mawere should know more about his own property than I do,” Gwaradzimba said.
He maintained that SMM was leasing the property “way before I was appointed administrator.”
Mawere hit back: “Gwaradzimba is complicit over the illegal lease, because he doesn’t want to disclose the names of persons involved.
“I’m not accusing him for being involved but I’m asking for answers about how my property was being leased by SMM for 17 years right under his nose.
“This is criminal activity which involves the theft of my own property, it boggles the mind who Gwaradzimba is trying to protect by failing to produce the names of the people who illegally leased my property.”