Willowgate Scandal: Fredrick Shava lies to Sadura Commission in Zimbabwe revisted

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A First 1989 commission of inquiry into the illegal sale of trucks and motor vehicles, commissioned by President Robert Mugabe and headed by former Judge President Wilson Sandura, exposes the extent of corruption by government officials.

The report, while in some cases pointing out wrongdoing by senior officials, finds mitigating circumstances that might have been designed to ensure the accused were not brought to justice.

The Chronicle headed by Geoff Nyarota broke the story in 1988 which became known as the “Willowgate scandal” in which senior officials were accused of using a government facility to purchase vehicles from Willowvale Motor Industries and resell them for profit.

The Sandura commission’s first inquiry rocked the government at the time. The Zimbabwenewslive.com will in the next few weeks make available more details of the report. This week we look at the newly appointed Foreign Minister Fredrick Shava.

Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava
Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava


The allegations against Sh a v a was that he purchased a number of vehicles from Willow vale and from car dealers and subsequently resold them at prices exceeding the controlled prices.

The following are the motor vehicles in question:-
(1) Mazda 323, Registration No. 445-759V; 1987 Model;
(2) Nissan cabstar truck, Registration No. 409-163R, 1983
(3) HaZda B1600, Registration No. 452-771R, 1988 Model;
(4) TOyota Cressida, Registration No. 442-298H, 1988 Model.

The late Justice Wilson Sandura and the late Robert Mugabe


The Commission heard evidence from Messrs A. Girach, D.E. Sly, A. Mahomed, and F.M.M. Shava.

Mazda 323, Registration No. 445-759D

The evidence from Shava and Mahomed was as follows:-

In 1987 Shava approached Puzey and Payne in Harare and indicated that he was looking for a Mazda 323 motor vehicle to purchase. His name was taken down and in December 1987, he was informed that the vehicle was available for
collection. At that time he could not afford to buy the motor vehicle because he did not have enough money. Consequently, he told Mahomed, a friend of his, that he could purchase the motor vehicle if he wished to.

Unfortunately, Mahomed did not have enough money to purchase the vehicle either. It was then agreed that Shava would use his overdraft facilities, purchase the motor vehicle, and be refunded the purchase price by Mahamed at a later stage.

The motor vehicle was then purchased and delivered to Mahamed. The full purchase price of about $19 000 was subsequently refunded by Mahomed on the 15th February 1988. The vehicle was first registered in Shava ‘ s name on the 24th December 1987 and was subsequently registered in the name of Hahoned’ s company on the 4th January 1988.

We do not believe that this evidence represents the truth of what happened in respect of this motor vehicle. The story given by the two witnesses is an incredible one. We believe that what happened was that Shava purchased the motor vehicle in December 1987 and resold it tO Mahomed in January 1988 at a substantial profit as he did in respect of the other three motor vehicles which we shall deal with shortly.

Both Shava and Mahoned were unreliable witnesses whose evidence cannot be believed.

Nissan Cabstar Truck, Registration N0. 409-163R

Shava’s evidence was that he purchased this two-and-a-half ton truck in terms of a hire purchase agreement for $45 000 at the beginning of 1988 from Kenning Motors in Bulawayo. He subsequently sold it in May 1988 to a businessman at Chitungwiza for $75 O00. He said that he sold the truck because he no longer needed it. He, therefore, made a profit of $ 30000

Mazda B1600, Registration No. 452-771R

This motor vehicle was purchased on 10 June 1988 from Zimbabwe Motor Assemblers and Distributors (PVT.) Ltd. and was registered in the name of Mrs. Shava on the same day.

The purchase price which was paid by cheque was $ 20 128,14. Shortly after its purchase, the mo t O r v e vehicle was sold to Flam

Lily Panel Beaters of Harare for $65 000 and change of ownership were effected on the 15th June 1988. A profit of about $45 OOO was realised in less than 5 days.

When he first gave evidence, Shava lied when he stated that he could not recall the price at which his wife had sold the truck in June 1988. However, he later changed his evidence when he realised that he could not go far with his lies because his answers were becoming more and more ridiculous as he was questioned further.

Toyota Cressida, Registration No. 442-298H

This motor vehicle was purchased from Willowvale in June 1988 and was registered in Shava’s name on the 6th June, 1988. The purchase price, which was paid by cheque, was $32 780,00. This was the dealer’s price which was about $5 OOO less than the retail price. The motor vehicle was subsequently resold to Girach for $95 000 and the change of ownership was effected on the 19th July 1988. In the circumstances, the profit realised was $62 220. When

Girach, Sly, and Shava gave evidence they maintained that the vehicle had been sold fOr $30 OOO which was untrue. However, after further evidence had come to light and this was put to Shava he decided to tell the Commission the truth. He admitted that he had lied to us and stated that the motor vehicle had been sold for $95 000.


It is obvious from the evidence that Shava was behaving like a car dealer. In one year he made a profit of about $140 000 from buying and selling motor vehicles. That sum represents the profits which Shava admitted in his evidence. In reality, the figures may be much higher. He ignored the price control legislation and made huge profits. In our view, this was a gross abuse of a Minister’s position, powers, and privileges.

A number of people committed perjury when they testified before the commission in connection with the motor vehicles dealt with in this chapter. We hope that the Attorney-General will institute criminal proceedings against them in respect of perjury and subornation of perjury.

Source: The Zimbabwe News Live