…as Mahofa ‘lies’ about BIPPA status
17 Feb 2017 – MASVINGO – There are suspicions of corruption involving Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs, Shuvai Mahofa’s dealings with the Chiredzi Wildlife Investments, the holding company running a crocodile farm in Chiredzi, after her claims that the farm is protected by a Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPPA) were found to be false.
The crocodile farm has been at the centre of controversy after a young man from Zaka, Gilbert Nyasha invaded the farm last month, claiming he had an offer letter given to him in 2012 to occupy the farm.
It was also widely reported that Mahofa was blocking Nyasha’s takeover, claiming the farm was covered by the BIPPA which obligates Zimbabwe to exempt German investments from compulsory acquisition.
Directors of the company, Jeffrey Howard Sommer and Henry Allan Sommer have been discovered to be not German as widely claimed, but Zimbabwean, leading to widespread suspicions that Mahofa was being paid to protect the Sommer brothers.
TellZim News saw a certified copy of a company registration (CR 14) certificate of the wildlife company, dated December 1, 2005 and signed by J.H Sommer, which lists the Sommer brothers as Zimbabwean.
Other directors who are listed are Paul Meadley (deceased) and Ethan Gilbert Dube both of whom are also listed as Zimbabwean.
When contacted for comment, Mahofa initially affirmed that the farm was indeed protected by the BIPPA between Germany and Zimbabwe but later referred this reporter to Zimparks and the lands offices that she said are in a better position to explain.
“Nyasha came to my office with people from the lands office to get clarification. The lands people had failed to verify his claim and I too queried why he had failed to move onto the farm for all these years yet he says he got the offer letter in 2012.
“How long does it take to just move onto a piece of land?,” said Mahofa.
She denied reports that she was working in cahoots with the Sommers and was being paid to protect them.
“I didn’t even know them until last week when they came to my office to state their case. How then can you say ndiri kudya navo. Vanhu vari kudya munovaziva asi hamudi kuvanyora,” said Mhofa.
Nyasha has however come out guns blazing, accusing Mahofa of hypocrisy and shielding the Sommers just to protect her narrow interests.
“The minister is on record saying that the recently acquired crocodile farm should be nullified because there is a potential that 60 employees would lose their jobs yet the same minister is supporting the takeover of 4 000 hectares from Tongaat Hullet whereby 2 000 workers have lost their jobs directly. So which one is a bigger scale?,” Nyasha quipped.
“We should not override principles for convenience. Recently, Mr Brian Andrew Cawood was evicted out of his remaining extend at Lot 21A in Mateke where he used to employ around 100 employees. He was a better farmer then the crocodile farm being safeguarded by Mahofa,” said Nyasha.politics