New twist to Zimbabwe Airways saga as Special Anti-corruption Unit wants to visit Malaysia

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AIR travel in Zimbabwe is not safe for the flying public following revelations made by Air Traffic controllers that the operational environment and surveillance system equipment does not meet world’s best practice.

The Zimbabwe Airways saga has taken a new twist amid reports that the Special Anti-Corruption unit in the Office of the President and Cabinet is expected to visit Malaysia to ascertain the nature of the plane acquisition transaction and the prices which are believed to have been inflated, the Zim Morning Post has learnt.

Former president Robert Mugabe’s son in law Simba Chikore and former Transport minister Jorum Gumbo are at the centre of the dodgy deal where government acquired two aircrafts from Malaysia.

Initially, Gumbo informed the nation the airline was a private company owned by Zimbabweans based in the diaspora before taking a U-turn and later claiming that  the company was 100 percent owned by government. He also shielded Chikore’s involvement.

A document obtained by Zim Morning Post reveals that Simba Chikore was the acting Accounting Manager of Zimbabwe Airways.

His lawyer Phillipa Phillips, who is listed as a Zim Airways director is a nominee shareholder who holds shares on behalf of someone believed to be Chikore.

The anti-corruption unit is keen to clear the air on the nature of the transaction.

According to documents gleaned by this publication, Zimbabwe Airways acquired two Boeing 777 aeroplanes for the government but due to repudiatory breach of the original sale and purchase agreement by the government, delivery of the other two aircrafts has not occurred.

The seller Malaysian Airline Behard, accepted the buyer’s repudiation of the original purchase agreement on the original sale and purchase agreement and the original sale and purchase agreement was terminated on July 2017.

The document states that the seller has retained the deposit under the original sale and purchase agreement as liquidated damages to compensate it for its loses.

Malaysian Airline Behard then set other terms and conditions for the government to follow in order to conclude the sale of the air crafts.

Some of the conditions set were that “government on behalf of Air Zimbabwe pays the seller US$4 million on or prior to August 3 2017, for an aircraft named MSN 29066. The deposit is non-refundable.

The remaining balances were to be paid on or before September 7 and on or before September 7 2018 respectively.”

“On the remaining aircraft named MSN 29066, government was also supposed to pay $500 000 on or before September 7 2018 and the remaining balance of $8 840 000 on or before September 30 2018.

“The seller indicated that they would add interest on the amounts if the government does not pay in time.

Information obtained by this publication shows that the name of the buyer nominee was withheld in the agreement of sale.

In April 2018, Chikore told local media that he had no links with the Zimbabwe Airways.

Zim Morning Post understands that one of the planes B722 (9MMRL) is currently at Kansas Airport in the United States under the custody of Jet Midwest a company that repairs and buys planes from Africa.

To restore sanity and sanitise this botched deal, government has since disbanded Zim Airways and Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Joel Biggie Matiza said government was regularising acquisition of the planes.

“The Embrear is on its way, as we speak and will arrive in the next two weeks.

“Government has also authorised payments of the outstanding amounts,” he was quoted as saying

Last month, Cabinet approved the regularisation of the acquisition of aircraft bought from Malaysia and make outstanding payments for the Embrear planes acquired in the US are brought to Zimbabwe.

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