Minister Kasukuwere gave his sister Dadirai a letter which instructed banks to give her a youth loan, despite that fact that she didn’t meet requirements. He did the same to two other associates. Later, they opened a piggery in Pennefeather and looted more youth funds. Throughout the time he was Minister, his sister, among others, were presented with a gift, which kept on giving.
By Maynard Manyowa (Khuluma Afrika)
In 2006, The Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment launched the Youth Empowerment Fund. Top financial institutions in the country, namely; Old Mutual, Stanbic, Industrial Development Bank of Zimbabwe and CBZ Bank’s contributed funds to the initiative, as an attempt to contribute to Zimbabwe’s indigenisation and empowerment goals.
By around 2011, the program was in full force. Millions of dollars were dispensed to each province, and youths with bankable projects were encouraged to submit proposals for funding to the different banks, or through the Ministry and with assistance from Zimbabwe Youth Council.
It has since become common knowledge that the funds were looted almost entirely. Those that got loans rarely if ever paid them back. Most of the funds were distributed along partisan lines to Zanu PF members, National Youth Service (Border Gezi) graduates, among others.
The entire processes have remained clouded in near mystery. Till today no one knows exactly how much was looted, how, when, and what the money was used for.
For the most time, Minister Saviour Kasukuwere was at the helm of the Ministry responsible for the indigenisation and empowerment. It is critical to mention this, and following facts will explain just why.
Initially, the plan was that youths from Masvingo province for example, would need to apply for $5,000 USD at qualifying bank nearby.
But, it did not always happen that way.
Minister Kasukuwere has a sister. Her name is Dadirai Kasukuwere. They both hail from an area called Matope, others call it ‘kwa Josiah’, along Rushinga road.. It is in Mashonaland Central province.
In 2011, Dadirai Kasukuwere applied for a youth loan. Ordinarily, this should not be an issue. She is after all a Zimbabwean, and a youth.
However, in applying for a loan, Dadirai did not submit any bankable project, or proof of it, but equipped herself with a letter signed by her brother, Minister Kasukuwere. All internal banking processes were bypassed completely.
This is obviously problematic on two fronts.
- The Minister is a blood relative of the lady, and therefore, a conflict of interest exists. The Minister cannot direct people who he was working with to assist his sister despite not having the necessary requirements.
- They call this nepotism. Most times it is illegal, or at the least frowned upon.
Dadirai’s relationship to her brother Saviour was not only a moral hazard, and a potential problem. It was exploited.
Normal turnaround times for loan applications at the time were anything from 7 working days to even 21 days. At the pinnacle of the program, in 2012 into 2013, turnaround would even take as much as 3 months.
It is why the relationship between the two siblings mentioned here becomes key. Dadirai’s first loan was applied for around 0900hrs in the morning. It was approved before end of business day, and the funds were deposited into her accounts by 0900hrs the next day. An astonishing and efficient 24 hours later.
Having received her funds, the Minister’s sister did not pay back the money, nor engaged in any project. The money was blown away, used to purchase an imported vehicle.
Weeks later, Dadirai Kasukuwere, again armed with letters from the Minister, and Zimbabwe Youth Council took the journey east. She applied for loans at CBZ and IDBZ in Mashonaland East province.
The rule of thumb was that, unless there was a different project, one person could not apply for multiple loans with the same institution. Nor could one person move from province to province applying for loans, let alone using the same sketch of a project.
Nonetheless, Dadirai, armed with the might of her Minister brother, ended up moving to every single province. Given that this lady should not have received a loan to begin with, it is a classic example of a $5,000 gift which kept on giving.
Dadirai is not the only lucky recipient of this gift. Another, Oswell Chitani, a member of the Central Intelligence Organisation went around the country pocketing these gifts courtesy of the minister.
Like Dadirai, Oswell curiously banked on his close relationship with the minister. He was a classmate of the minister at the University of Zimbabwe, where they both studied political science. He remains a close friend of Kasukuwere till today.
Then there is Stephen Musengeyi, a youth officer in Marondera. Stephen happens to be a Zanu PF member, closely aligned to Minister Kasukuwere. He even contested ward elections in Marondera and lost.
He too is a friend, and conveniently travelled the length and breadth of the country receiving these youth funds (gifts). Minister Kasukuwere kept on giving, and he too, kept on getting.
It is not the only example of Kasukuwere illegally, and manipulatively using his power as Minister to have funds corruptly disbursed to his friends and family members.
Towards 2013, the trio of happy recipients mentioned above unveiled an ‘idea’ of creating a piggery in Chivhu. A business proposal was concocted and CABS and IDBZ were approached.
The banks were made to believe that the project would be a seed bank for the Ministry of Youth. The piggery was even created and opened as a legitimate initiative from the Ministry.
It was opened at Pennefather, near Chivhu, and near Ernest Kadungure Vocational Training Center (Fort Charter) some 12km before Chivhu.
This time, the plan was different. The funds were looted, but the gang of 4 attempted to have some work on the ground. They attempted to recruit youths from National Youth Service, to work at the place with no pay.
When the youths downed tools, locals were invited to work at the place. The people who worked on the initiative were told they would be incorporated into the Youth Funds project. That too never happened, although the minister did try his best.
Months later, 1000 pigs were sold by the piggery and the money pocketed by the Minister through his allies. Effectively allowing him and his ‘family’ to pocket the loot twice.
The mere fact that two banks contributed to the same project raises stink. The fact that the workers were not paid, and the proceeds chowed stinks. When you multiply $5000 USD stolen from each bank per province, you realise the total cost is sky high.
Dadirai Kasukuwere was the first recipient of this $5,000 USD gift. It is a gift that essentially kept on giving, and giving. And it was from her brother to her, and his friends.
- Maynard Manyowa is a co-editor on Khuluma Afrika – a center for political analysis, and investigative journalism. This article is the first in a series of revelations about ‘gifts’ from Minister Kasukuwere, that have kept on giving.
(Editorial Note: All efforts to get a comment from Minister Kasukuwere were rebuffed, or completely ignored. Mobile calls were dropped and subsequently blocked. Efforts to get a comment from banks were equally fruitless, as institutions cited client-banker confidentiality. Efforts to get a comment from the Ministry were equally fruitless.)