Dangote returns after bribery shock

Dangote returns after bribery shock
Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote

Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote

NIGERIAN billionaire Aliko Dangote’s much-hyped plan to invest $1 billion in Zimbabwe’s cement, coal and power industries in 2015 collapsed after political bigwigs pressured him to “grease their palms”, The Financial Gazette can reveal.
Dangote made a high-profile visit to Zimbabwe in October 2015, meeting the then President Robert Mugabe as the investment-starved country shut out of global capital markets since the turn of the century hoped for some succour from Africa’s richest man.
Dangote’s highly publicised investment plans included the construction of a $400 million cement plant that would produce 1,5 million tonnes annually, doubling the  country’s output at the time. Dangote also expressed plans to develop a coal mine and a thermal power generation plant.
However, the proposed deal quickly went sour after some senior officials in Mugabe’s government sought to corruptly profit from Dangote’s investment, the Nigerian businessman’s Zimbabwean associate told The Financial Gazette this week.
Investment consultant Josey Mahachi-Agbeniyi of BrandMe! International said Dangote told Mugabe he was walking away from Zimbabwe, after it became apparent that no action would be taken against the offending officials.
“What happened with Mr Dangote is something that was beyond my control, beyond his control. Everybody knows what was happening in the country. For you to invest in Zimbabwe you had to grease some people’s palms, which is something that Dangote doesn’t want,” Mahachi-Agbeniyi said.
“Dangote is a shrewd businessman, he is a straight-forward businessman and he would not grease anybody’s palms to invest in the country…we need the investment more than him. He is now ready to come because probably he knows that the culprits have gone. His technical team will be coming in a few days, and we are also expecting him in March.”
Mahachi-Agbeniyi did not disclose the officials who demanded bribes from the Nigerian magnate, whose net worth is estimated at $13,5 billion.
She also refused to disclose the amount of money that had been demanded by the corrupt authorities.
On a number of occasions, Mugabe revealed he had received complaints that prospective investors were being harried to pay bribes to clear official paths for their transactions.
In December 2012, Mugabe told the ZANU-PF annual conference that former South African leader Thabo Mbeki had raised a similar issue with him.
“I was getting complaints from outside. Former South African president Thabo Mbeki was saying some of their people in the ANC wanted to come intending to do business and this is what they have been told: ‘If you want to do this business, you bring US$5 million and from that US$5 million we take US$1 million that we will take to the minister to give to the president,” Mugabe said at the time.
“If I get information stating that so and so minister is doing this, he goes. Unfortunately, sometimes complainants do not want to identify the ministers, fearing persecution but that is happening in the ministries.”
Despite such public disclosures of his officials’ conduct, Mugabe never took any action against them.
“The first question someone asks when they see an investor is what percentage is for me,” Mahachi-Agbeniyi said.
Corruption, red tape and unfavourable policies such as the indigenisation regulations have all combined to sully Zimbabwe’s profile in the eyes of foreign investors.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced Mugabe after the veteran autocrat was ousted by the military last November, has vowed to improve Zimbabwe’s investment climate and crackdown on corruption.
Mnangagwa’s anti-graft drive, which has seen several high-profile arrests, has drawn criticism that it has targeted his ZANU-PF foes.
Several ministers and senior government officials deemed close to Mugabe and his wife, including former finance minister, Ignatius Chombo, former mines minister, Walter Chidhakwa and former tourism minister, Walter Mzembi have been arraigned on various graft charges. Apart from corruption, Mahachi-Agbeniyi said Zimbabwe, which consistently ranks poorly on the World Bank’s “ease of doing business” annual survey, needed to do more to remove the red tape which makes the country uncompetitive.
“I feel like there is still some bureaucracy, some bureaucratic logjam. That’s why you realise some people like me, when I bring an investor into the country, I go straight to His Excellency (the President) because I know that the investors go through a whole channels and processes,” she explained.
“I will give an example of Dangote. When he came here, he wanted his company to be open there and then. And His Excellency, who was the vice president then, made sure that that was done and he (Dangote) left the country with his papers. I don’t want this to happen to Dangote alone. I want it to happen to every investor who comes into the country. I just hope that there is a process of changing the policies and they also need to show that Zimbabwe is open for business,”
BrandMe! International will partner other Zimbabwean entities to hold an investment conference in the first week of March.
The conference is part of efforts to attract FDI into the country.
newsdesk@fingaz.co.zw

Facebook

  • Osbert

    He needs to tell us WHO asked for the bribes.

  • Tavaka Zhou

    Zanu yakaora zvomene, we could not get our children much needed investments because one Matibili wanted his hands greased..nxaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • The New Normal

    This reporting is shallow and devoid of information. Who was involved? What happened? How much was involved etc. Give us the details!

    • truth teller

      True

  • Clement W. Siby

    Why is journalism in Zimbabwe so shoddy? Surely there has to be more than has been said here. This shallow and devoid of any meaningful details. This sounds like a romour you would hear from the street than an actual report by a senior business reporter. Itai serious mhani imi.

  • Wezhira

    Of late most of your articles seems incomplete. Mr online editor kindly look into the issue. This article is an example then Columnists “Letter from America” and “Cabinet Files” of the last couple of weeks.

  • Mhofu David

    Full stories are upload on Saturday, I noticed the tread two weeks ago. But if I am based in Botswana what do you expect me to do. Why not just erect a paywall

  • Bryan Zuze

    Too bad am in Namibia and will have to wait for the weekend to read stories on the Fingaz webaite. They sound interesting cant wait but why not open up for people based outside Zimbabwe.

  • Lovemore Jemwa

    Shame those in diaspora, vamwe tatotenga the paper to read how corrupt Mugabe’s administration was. No wonder may investors were not coming to Zimbabwe

  • Lacoste

    But is is an open secret one JUNIOR GUMBOCHUMA is the one who tried to bribe Dangote, the whole presidium is aware. She is Grace Mugabe’s sister, the one who last year was given $60 000 by Robert Mugabe on her 60th birthday. Mugabe’s children Russell, Robert Junior, Chatunga, Bona and her husband Simba Chikore gave $10 000. Its embarrassing coz she is a pastor in ZAOGA.

  • Chikuru ichokwadi

    So this Mahachi girl is afraid to say it was Grace Mugabe’s sister Junior Gumbochuma and Ignatious Chombo who wanted to bribe Dangote noone he has to wait until Mugabe was nikuved from power.

  • Owen Gambe

    Its Patrick Zhuwao, Ignatius Chombo and Junior Gumbochuma

  • Xtrail

    Zimboz need to change their mindset when it comes to kick-backs if they want to attract a lot of investment

  • Shelton Nyauchi

    Zanu PF, G40 to be specific was/is so corrupt

  • Mbimbindoga Chidembo

    Will someone name and shame the culprits please!

Connect With Us

Fingaz Polls

CEO term limits...good or bad idea?