Zimbabwe Vice-President’s wife to appear in court today

Mrs Mary Chiwenga - Picture by Kudakwashe Hunda

THE embattled estranged wife of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga Marry Mubaiwa is expected to appear in court today on allegations of externalising US$1 million and fraudulently seeking to solemnise her marriage with neither the husband’s knowledge nor consent.

The two were customarily married, but Mubaiwa allegedly sought to upgrade the union to a civil marriage under the Marriages Act, without the consent of her husband.

The Marriages Act demands the consent of both parties in the presence of a marriage officer.
Mubaiwa was on Saturday evening arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) for externalising foreign currency, money laundering and the fraud case regarding the marriage.

According to the State media, Marry was locked up at Rhodesville Police Station pending her court appearance. ZACC spokesman Commissioner John Makamure said Mubaiwa will appear in court today.

“Yes, I can confirm the arrest of Marry Mubaiwa for fraud and externalisation of foreign currency,” he said.

“She is expected to appear in court tomorrow (Monday).”

Addressing delegates at the 18th Zanu-PF Annual National People’s Conference at Goromonzi High School last week, VP Chiwenga spoke unequivocally against corruption.

He urged the nation to walk the talk on corruption, saying all corrupt persons should be jailed.

“We need to be true patriots and loyal servants by shunning, resisting and exposing corruption, as well as ethically playing our expected roles in national development,” said VP Chiwenga.

“Nyaya yecorruption munopinda mujere. Iyi haina anokwanisa kuti ini handikwanisike nokuti ndakamira ndakadai. Saka tobva pano paGoromonzi tapinda mugwara.

“Usambofa wakati ini ndakashandira musangano. Wakashandira musangano, but teedzera gwara. Hatichadi kuona nyaya dzecorruption. Dzinofanira kuti dzipere (When it comes to corruption, there are no sacred cows. It must come to an end).”

The Herald understands that Mubaiwa is facing six counts of exporting foreign currency in breach of the Exchange Control Act and five counts of concealing transactions involving proceeds of crime in violation of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act.

She is also facing one count of fraud in which she allegedly attempted to register a fake union.

Mubaiwa allegedly exported US$1 033 961 to South Africa and China after misrepresenting that her companies intended to buy tents, chairs and prepaid meters for consumption in Zimbabwe, but she ended up buying houses and top-of-the-range vehicles.

The offences were committed between October last year and May this year.

Mubaiwa is the chief executive officer of East Town Holdings, situated at No. 14 Boundary Road, Highlands, Harare.

She is also a shareholder of Tarnor Investments (Pvt) Ltd.

It is alleged that between October 2018 and May 2019, Mubaiwa instructed her friend, Memory Chakuinga, who is the managing director of two South Africa-based companies identified as Falcon Projects (Pvt) Ltd and Bonnette Electrical (Pvt) Ltd to raise proforma invoices for the purchase of event tents, chairs and prepaid household electrical meters.

The invoices would then be referred to CBZ Bank on the pretext that Mubaiwa wanted to buy the items for use in Zimbabwe, when in actual fact, she allegedly wanted to convert the money for personal use outside the country.

On October 8, 2018, Mubaiwa allegedly sent her driver, Carrington Kazingizi, and Terrence Mutandwa to China with US$114 000, the money being carried through Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport without being declared in contravention of the Exchange Control Act.

Sometime in November 2018, Mubaiwa allegedly instructed Chakuinga to come up with a proforma invoice for the supply of event tents and chairs.

The invoice was subsequently sent to CBZ Bank where US$201 846, 81 was transferred into Falcon Projects Suppliers (Pvt) Limited’s FNB Bank account.

Instead of buying event tents and chairs, Mubaiwa reportedly instructed Chakuinga to divert the funds to Range Rover Centre Menyln for the purchase of a personal Range Rover Autobiography.

The vehicle was later registered in South Africa in Mubaiwa’s name.

In February this year, Mubaiwa instructed Chakuinga to raise another proforma invoice for the supply of prepaid household electric meters.

On February 4 2019, the invoice was sent to CBZ Bank, resulting in the transfer of US$307 545,05 into the FNB Bank account of Falcon Projects Suppliers (Pvt) Limited, South Africa.

Instead of buying the meters, the money was allegedly used to buy a house, 1309 Kingstone Heath Close, Waterkloof Golf Estate, Pretoria, South Africa.

The house was registered in the name of LaChelle Travel and Tours (Pty) Ltd South Africa, a company in which Mubaiwa is the sole shareholder.

Sometime between February and March this year, Mubaiwa allegedly asked her friend, Judith Gamuchirai Goredema, to source R3 000 000 in South Africa to buy a second Range Rover vehicle.

Goredema got the money and bought the vehicle on Mubaiwa’s behalf.

In return, Mubaiwa transferred US$230 769,23 to Goredema.

The R3 000 000 was subsequently transferred into Kempster Sedgwick (Pty) Ltd’s FNB Bank account for the purchase of a Range Rover, which was later registered in South Africa in Mubaiwa’s name.

Between February and March this year, Mubaiwa, through Goredema, allegedly externalised another US$36 923,08, which was deposited into Luvial Contact CC’s FNB Bank account.

Goredema then used the money to buy furniture, which was delivered to the house Mubaiwa had just bought in South Africa.
In May 2019, Chakuinga raised another proforma invoice for the supply of prepaid meters.

CBZ then transferred US$142 858,93 into Bonnette Electrical Pty Ltd where it was transferred to (Martin Potgieter Attorneys Trust’s bank account with Standard Bank, South Africa, allegedly towards the purchase of the same 1309 Kingstone Heath Close house.

Mubaiwa is accused of approaching Judge President George Chiweshe and misrepresenting that she and VP Chiwenga had agreed to wed under the Marriage Act in a ceremony on July 2 this year at 614 Nick Price Drive, Borrowdale Brooke, Harare.

She submitted copies of national identity documents of both of them to Justice Chiweshe, who then contacted Acting Chief Magistrate Mr Munamato Mutevedzi to look for a magistrate to solemnise the marriage.

Mr Mutevedzi, being the highest ranking marriage officer in the Judiciary, took up the task personally.

He noticed that the couple had not submitted passport size photos and their addresses, before contacting JSC Acting Secretary Walter Chikwana, who in turn contacted Mubaiwa, who submitted all the missing documents.

Mr Mutevedzi then prepared registration forms and the marriage certificate before the ceremony, but when he went to the Borrowdale Brooke address to solemnise the marriage, he was denied access.

Investigations revealed that an order for two diamond rings had already been placed with a jewellery shop at Newlands, Harare, in preparation for the wedding.

It turned out Mubaiwa was allegedly trying to solemnise the marriage without VP Chiwenga’s consent. – Herald