Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Mliswa arrested for threatening white businessman

Mliswa arrested for threatening white businessman

Saturday, 10 April 2010 19:43

CONTROVERSIAL Zanu PF businessman Temba Mliswa was arrested last week for allegedly threatening a white businessman whose business he intends to acquire in line with the controversial Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act. The Act directs that all foreign-owned businesses should cede 51% of their shareholding to local black entrepreneurs.

Critics of the Act say that the legislation is open to abuse as it is likely to benefit a few well-connected individuals who have benefited from similar programmes that aimed to empower previously disadvantaged groups.

The Standard is reliably informed that Mliswa, who is also the secretary for lands in Mashonaland West, was detained for 24 hours at Harare Central Police Station.

He was later released.

Sources said Mliswa and his manager Godknows Murambiwa went to Benbar, a company dealing in car accessories in Msasa sometime in January and informed the directors that they were from the Affirmative Action Group. They allegedly demanded 51% of the company’s shares in accordance with the Act.

Mliswa is also alleged to have told the directors that according to the Act, he was entitled to take ownership of the company. He gave them a week to respond (sic).

After one week Mliswa allegedly sent the company’s operations director Paul Westwood an SMS threatening that he would expose “the skeletons in his cupboard” if he did not comply with his directive. According to sources, part of the SMS read: “Listen Paul I was very patient with you I have given you an option which you are not willing to respond.

“I am giving you 24 hours to respond to our offer. I have got skeletons in your cupboard and I wouldn’t want to expose them.”

However Mliswa denied ever trying to invade Benbar Company or threatening Westwood.

He said he already owned 50% of the company’s shares.

“The company doesn’t even fall under the Indigenisation Act. I got into this company after somebody failed to pay me my money back (sic),” he said.

He said Westwood and some police officers were trying to fabricate a story about him.

“It was a story manufactured by my own detractors. It is a major conspiracy which I am going to expose soon and I am even in the process of writing a letter to the President (Robert Mugabe) telling him what is going on,” he said.

He also claimed that he had suspended Westwood from work because he had allegedly defrauded the company of more than US$60 000.

Efforts to get a comment from Westwood were fruitless as his lawyer Victor Zvobgo of Mhiribidi, Ngarava and Moyo Legal Practitioners refused to comment.

“I can’t comment, I will talk to my client first and get back to you,” Police spokesperson inspector James Sabau said he was not aware of the case.

“I don’t know about the case, there are many sections at Harare Central and I can’t know every case unless if it’s for interest’s sake.”

There are fears that the recently enacted empowerment regulations were going to benefit Zanu-PF officials only.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono who has openly clashed with Youth Development, Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere, over the Act said he was worried with the way it was going to be implemented.

Speaking last week during a tour of his Donnington Farm by visiting ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, Gono said people should “be on the lookout for those who would want to be greedy; those who would use connections to get into factories. Let’s guard against vices that might draw us back. The process cannot benefit the same people who have benefited over the years.”

Kasukuwere insists that the Act was meant to empower the black majority.



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