25 August 2006

Zimbabwe: Dande Dismisses VP Mujuru Links

DANDE Capital Holdings, a financial advisory services company, has distanced itself from Vice-President Joice Mujuru after its directors' controversial trip with a government delegation to China in June.

This comes after claims that Mujuru -- whose daughter works for the firm -- might have an interest in the diversified company which signed several business deals during her official visit to Beijing.

Sources said Mujuru's visit to China had become part of the ruling Zanu PF's intensifying power struggle after a rival camp in the party led by bigwig Emmerson Mnangagwa compiled a dossier in a bid to expose what it believed was an abuse of office by her to support businesses she had an interest in.

The Mujuru camp, led by retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru, husband of the vice-president, was said to be banking on a report on Zanu PF companies compiled by Kudenga & Co chartered accountants to fix Mnangagwa's faction for alleged corruption.

However, Dande CEO Evison Musanjeya, said this week Mujuru was not involved in the company either as a shareholder or in any other capacity. Listed as Dande shareholders are David Butau, Zanu PF MP for Guruve North, Musanjeya, Wilfred Hlanguyo and Decent Chitsungo.

Musanjeya said Mujuru's only association with Dande was through her proximity of interests as an MP for the area where the company derived its name and operates.

He said no one among the shareholders was related to Mujuru although Butau shared the same totem with her.

Musanjeya said Mujuru's daughter was employed by the company, not because the vice-president had an interest in it, but as an acknowledgement of Mujuru's support for their business efforts.

"She (Mujuru) has no interest at all in the company," Musanjeya said. "But she has acknowledged and appreciated what we have been doing on the ground in terms of our businesses. We have only been working with her as a senior politician from the area on chicken projects to help the people."

Dande, which has seven subsidiaries, runs Tsakare Chickens involved in poultry production and marketing. It supplies the local market but has a long-term plan to supply the export market, especially South Africa, when its production reaches 1 200 tonnes of dressed chickens per quarter.

Dande also owns Ele Resources, which focuses on mining, Cynthesis Agriculture, Cynthesis Cotton, Timbsbury Timbers, Heldnet Enterprises, and Telequip.

Musanjeya said Dande directors went to China with Mujuru on their own means and had in any case been there before.

He said they joined the government delegation to take advantage of possible business opportunities that might have arisen during the trip.

During the China visit, Dande signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China National Construction and Agricultural Machinery Import and Export Co and agreed to establish a chrome mine in the Dande area, while Ele Resources signed a deal to launch coal mining and thermal power projects in Dande.

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