NIEEB wants BP, Masawara deal revoked

HARARE - Zimbabwe wants  locals to exclusively benefit from Masawara Plc’s $39 million purchase of a stake in BP and Shell Marketing Services (Private) Ltd, and may tear up the current financial arrangements if it fails to reach an agreement with the investor.

The National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) said agreements the government signed with Masawara Plc, an investment company controlled by Zimbabwean businessman Shingai Mutasa, to buy a stake in a joint venture owned by BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc in October 2010, were dubious.

Masawara’s subsidiary FMI Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd’s purchase of the holding in BP and Shell Marketing Services (Private) Ltd., won regulatory approval on October 7, 2010, but NIEEB now says there was “material, deliberate and fraudulent misrepresentation and non-disclosure of the facts of who the actual buyer of the BP and Shell assets in Zimbabwe was.”

“Whilst the buyer is FMI Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd, a locally registered company, the eventual owner is Masawara Energy (Mauritius) Limited, a Mauritius registered company,” said a NIEEB report seen by the Daily News yesterday.

“The transfer of ownership of the assets worth $39 million at the time from FMI Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd to Masawara Energy (Mauritius) Ltd was never disclosed to all relevant government institutions such as the ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Exchange Control Authorities. Such transfer was never authorised by any relevant authorities in the government.”

Mutasa, who owns 63 percent of Masawara and also owns the Joina City behemoth in central Harare, was unreachable for comment.

Masawara, under the deal now owns 73 retail sites and 10 storage depots that can hold 59,9 million litres of fuel in Zimbabwe.

Earlier, Zimbabwe had blocked the sale of the BP and Shell assets to KenolKobil Ltd. of Kenya and Engen Ltd., the South African unit of Malaysia’s state-owned Petroliam Nasional Bhd., saying neither company had sufficient Zimbabwean shareholders.

Under the country’s laws, black Zimbabweans should have a 51 percent stake in all companies.

NIEEB said Masawara has applied to the Indigenisation minister seeking approval of a transaction in which it intends to sell its entire 51 percent shares to Masawara Energy Mauritius, which owns the re-branded Zuva Petroleum service stations.

The intended buyer is Woble Investments (Woble), a company certified indigenous and principally owned by John Mushayavanhu.

Mushayavanhu was not picking calls from the Daily News yesterday.

NIEEB said the Masawara deal “threatened the integrity of the indigenisation and empowerment programme.”

The Masawara deal and several other deals minted under the empowerment programme were vital for the politically wobbly and impoverished southern African state which has just emerged from a disputed election that returned 89-year-old Robert Mugabe to power for a seventh term.

The drive to transfer shareholding in foreign firms to locals was the backbone of Mugabe’s re-election campaign.

Comments (3)

The president was very emphatic that Zimbabweans must start their own companies not fight over other people's assets. The Masawara issue has been with us for a while and I do not seem to see where it is taking us. Shingi Mutasa is the major shareholder of TA and is an astute businessman. He is a deal maker of note and Zimbabweans must learn from him instead of trying to pull him down. Remember TA represents Tobacco Association. Has anyone stopped to wonder how he managed to takeover that conglomerate, how he managed to assemble the capital to construct Joina City, that magnificent tall building at the centre of Harare. How does anyone in his right mind think that anyone can get the capital to buy a stake in Delta, Zimplats, Riozim, Tongat Hullet(Triangle and Hippo) Unki, Mimosa, Lafarge and many of the big counters to be indiginised without going offshore. If anyone who buys an asset is going to be labeled a front, then we are losing the plot. Please let us concentrate on making the policy a success and not a platform for attacking those who may bit us at some of these transactions. Indiginisation is about creating opportunities for those Zimbabweans who have got both the resources and capacity to organize big businesses. It is a fallacy to think that it is a programme for everyone although the phrase “broad masses” has been thrown around to portray a picture where everyone must participate. How does someone who cannot put food on his table think of buying a business?

Timothy Thorton - 16 September 2013

Greed , all the guys want is free items like the farms. Its an extremely poisonous business environment in Zimbabwe.

Mukorekore - 17 September 2013

while we would like our local guys to succeed especially in buying local assets in line with the indigestion policy, The Masawara deal is an exception. Shingi does not control Zuva Petroleum which he is said to have bought, he had less that 15% of Zuva before selling to John Mushayavanhu, again he is not even the major Shareholder as written of Masawara if anything he owns far much less that 20% of Masawara, even more interesting John Mushayavanhu is not the buyer in the second case he also is fronting.

Innocent - 17 September 2013

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