Thupeyo Muleya–Beitbridge Bureau
Two luxury vehicles belonging to Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena, now facing fraud charges with three Cottco bosses involving US$5 million, were seized and impounded by border authorities at Beitbridge to prevent them being shipped to South Africa.
Security sources said the red 2020 BMW X6 and 2019 Lamborghini, both high-performance sport utility vehicles, were moved from Harare to Beitbridge in a car carrier on Thursday evening.
According to vehicle clearance documents, the two vehicles were cleared at CID vehicles theft squad in Harare on Wednesday, a routine procedure before vehicles can leave the country.
“The yellow Lamborghini, engine number DHU005304, was being driven by the legislator’s young brother, Professor Tatenda Wadyajena (32) a footballer, and the red BMW X6 Engine number 21470026 was being driven by Kudakwashe Kuora (32), a customs clearing agent,” said a border official on condition of anonymity.
“We got information that the lawmaker was allegedly moving his assets to South Africa ahead of the conclusion of his Cottco alleged fraud trial.
“The two vehicles were transported in a car carrier and were offloaded in Beitbridge before being driven through the Beitbridge border where we impounded them”.
The official said the two vehicles arrived at the border post around 10am with border staff told that they were being taken for routine service in South Africa.
The security agents were suspicious about the timing by the legislator to move the two vehicles soon after getting bail pending trial in the US$5 million Cottco fraud case.
When contacted for comment, Wadyajena promised to call back before going silent until the time of going to print.
“I will call you back later once I get settled,” said the Gokwe-Nembudziya parliamentarian.
For the better part of the day, the two impounded vehicles were a centre of attraction at the border for many travellers.
Security officials had a hard time controlling those who sought to take pictures of the two luxury cars.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi was not readily available for comment last night.
The legislator, who chairs the parliamentary committee on agriculture, is accused of being part of a US$5 million siphoning of funds from Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, in particular of having his transport company receive 25 trucks from an American company that had been allegedly paid to supply bale ties to Cottco but instead had allegedly supplied the trucks that were taken over by what is assumed to be Wadyajena’s company.
The legislator was arrested on Tuesday and charged with fraud and money laundering involving US$5 million together with three Cottco bosses and two companies, including his Mayor Logistics.
The other accomplices are suspended Cottco managing director Pious Manamike (54), suspended Cottco head of marketing Maxmore Njanji (47), Cottco acting procurement manager Fortunate Molai (34).
The accused persons were each granted $200 000 bail by a Harare magistrate and ordered to surrender title deeds of their properties as surety.
Charges are that sometime in 2019, the group allegedly opened a shelf company Pierpont Moncroix Zimbabwe.
Shortly afterwards, a Mauritian company with a similar name, but according to what the court was told had no connection to the Zimbabwean company, was recommended by Molai to supply Cottco with 3,2 million high carbon bale ties valued at US$2,6 million to cater for 2019 ginning season.
Instead of importing the bales, the group switched the payment to an American company and then imported 25 trucks between 2019 and 2020 using the bale tie money and these trucks were later registered under Mayor Logistics.
In November of the same year, Manamike and Njanji are accused of issuing a second purchase order on behalf of Cottco, which was valued at US$1 106 000 for the purchase of the bale ties from the same American Giant Equipment company.
The order was then approved even though Giant Equipment had failed to deliver the first order.
Molai is alleged to have sent an email to the Cottco’s treasurer in November 2021 in which she requested the company to pay a deposit of US$2 500 000 to Energy Park Company for more bale ties.
The money was paid in instalments with some of it being then transferred to Maropafadzo Energy (Pvt) Ltd.