‘Wealth Flaunting Criminal Mastermind Wicknell Under Attack’

Wicknel Chivayo holding two machine guns – ©Facebook Photo
Just a few hours after 35-year-old Flamboyant Harare businessman, Wicknel Chivayo, attacked former Information Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, the state media has come out guns blazing calling the ‘wealth-flaunting “tenderpreneur”, a criminal mastermind.’

Accord to today’s Chronicle (7/04/2015):

In March 2011, The Chronicle, in a front page splash, described Chivayo as an “internet fraudster” and “one of the most wanted criminals in Southern Africa” after he allegedly defrauded six people of R2 million.

The elaborate con, according to prosecutors, involved identifying wealthy targets and the creation of websites for non-existent companies and then pretending to source or supply goods.

In that case, it was alleged between October and December 2009, he would pretend to be a purchasing manager for a company and approach well-heeled victims, carefully selected through contacts in the banking sector. The targets were told that the company he was representing needed to acquire certain goods — the victims could make huge profits by supplying the company at inflated prices.

There was a catch: the targets had to acquire the goods from two South Africa-based companies identified by Chivayo, which also had make-believe websites — Dolitel Trading and Redgold Investments.

Prosecutors said once the victims transferred money to the two “companies” to buy the goods that Chivayo’s “company” wanted, the websites vanished overnight and all contact numbers for the companies would not go through.

Chivayo eventually beat the charges after a Bulawayo magistrate, Godwin Sengweni, acquitted him having rejected the evidence of an accomplice witness, Norman Mpofu.

Years earlier, in 2004, Chivayo was handed a three-year jail term with labour after being convicted of theft by false pretences involving R837,000. He “unlawfully and with intent to steal” misrepresented to Digby Sean Nesbitt that he had deposited R837,000 into Shane Peter Nesbitt’s bank account in South Africa in exchange for Z$37,6 million. After receiving the Z$37,6 million, he neglected to deposit the Zimbabwe dollar equivalent.

He served his sentence at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

Returning from prison, Chivayo continued his hustling business, eventually stumbling on the tender industry — specifically in the energy sector. A company in which he says he holds five percent shareholding, Intratek Zimbabwe, was originally awarded a $183 million tender for a 100 megawatt solar plant in Gwanda. It was later cancelled, and then re-instated in 2015.

Intratek has gone on to win the tender to restore Munyati power station’s 100 megawatt power generation capacity with an Indian partner, Jaguar Overseas Limited.

Chivayo is listed as the managing director of Intratek on the company’s website, but he appears to be in fact a mere front-man for Asian investors, among them Ibrahim Yusuf (executive chairman) and Tariq Yusuf (director). They are thought to have Indian roots.

An energy sector expert told The Chronicle last night: “Chivayo, for all his criminal tendencies, has been smart in activating political contacts he has established over the years to make a career out of winning tenders. What he’s not, as some have rather foolishly suggested, is ‘Zimbabwe’s Donald Trump’.

“This guy is in fact a runner for powerful and rich Asian partners who use him to win tenders in Zimbabwe. The money he’s flashing around is not dividend from profits of a large corporation but ‘thank you’ payments from the real beneficiaries of these tenders. Call him a well-paid runner if you like.”

This perhaps explains Chivayo’s astonishing bravado in an attack on the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) earlier this week when he claimed the tax authority did a “fictitious nonsensical lifestyle audit” and demanded $1,4 million. Zimra most likely will never tie down his money because “thank you” tokens from foreign handlers are unlikely to be domiciled in Zimbabwe.

Financial inducements are a bane of Zimbabwe’s tender system, but name dropping of powerful politicians’ names also helps. Chivayo has previously claimed to be the nephew of the late Vice President John Nkomo. We have been unable to independently verify this. His picture with President Mugabe, whose subsequent “abuse” has irked the President’s Office, according to sources, is now used as a major bargaining chip. “I’ve access,” it says.

After declaring bankruptcy, American rap star, 50 Cent, was photographed with stacks of $100 bills. When Judge Ann Nevins demanded to know exactly how the supposedly bankrupt megastar could get so much money, 50 Cent stated: “Hip-hop culture is widely recognised as aspirational in nature. The standard by which artists and fans engage is commonly tied to money, jewelry, products and advertising over social media.

“Products and brands are now marketed through social media as an effective way to engage with consumers. Just because I’m sensitive to the needs of maintaining my brand does not mean that I’m hiding assets or that I’ve lied on my filings in this Bankruptcy Case, neither of which is true.”

Convicted conman Chivayo was perhaps dead honest when he cautioned, in The Daily News on Monday, that those taken in by his show of supposed wealth must not take him so seriously.

“Social media has created jealous behaviour over illusions. Sadly, some people are envious of things, relationships, businesses and lifestyles that don’t exist,” he noted, while observing that his showmanship was in fact inspiring “young Zimbabweans to work hard, focus and attain a good life.”

“These [who are inspired] far exceed the ones that take too seriously my light hearted and playful bantering on social media,” he added. But just how did Zifa and Zimbabwe stake so much on a fraudster? Source: Chronicle

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