Cross said Kudakwashe Tagwirei, who deinvested from the fuel sector four years ago, used his company Sakunda Holdings and links with international organisations to become rich.

BUSINESS tycoon Kudakwashe Tagwirei made his wealth in the fuel sector and did not use any political connections to achieve his status, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s biographer Eddie Cross has said.

Cross said Tagwirei, who deinvested from the fuel sector four years ago, used his company Sakunda Holdings and links with international organisations to become rich.

Tagwirei was early this month designated under the US the Global Magnitsky Programme for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of corruption, and the transfer or the facilitation of the transfer of proceeds of corruption.

There have been claims that Tagwirei made his fortune from the Government’s Command Agriculture programme which was implemented in 2016 to avert food shortages.

“It wasn’t political connections that made him rich,” Cross told online television channel HSTV.

“He has become extremely rich and Kuda is extremely bright. He owned a fuel company, one of the bigger ones and the Trafigura guys bought him out and made him a director and trebled the size of the business as they (Trafigura) are the third largest trading company in the world. So, it was under Trafigura that he made very substantial money, and he is still a wealthy man.”

He added: “He is a billionaire, and it is his own money. These are success stories.”

Cross was part of the late Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change opposition party the governing Zanu PF accuses for having begged for sanctions on Zimbabwe.

A former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Monetary Policy Committee member, Cross said Tagwirei had since left the fuel industry and was focusing on other interests.

Cross also revealed how he fought Tagwirei for more than 10 years thinking he had total control of the country’s fuel pipeline.

The economist said he was pushing for South Africa’s energy firm Mining Oil & Gas Services to build a second pipeline from Beira, Mozambique to Harare.

Government has reiterated that it will not give total control of the fuel pipeline to a private player.

Cross also dismissed that Tagwirei was part of state-owned mining group, Kuvimba Mining.

Kuvimba was recently taken over by the sovereign wealth fund, Mutapa Investment Fund. — NewsDay

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