|HARARE businessman Phillip Chiyangwa has hit out at Leo Mugabe, telling the President’s nephew he was a dying horse and should rest in peace as the row over Telecel Zimbabwe escalates.
Chiyangwa, by the way, is a cousin to President Robert Mugabe. And another of the president’s nephews, Patrick Zhuwao, is also involved in the bitter high profile row to control the troubled mobile phone operator.
Telecel, in which several ruling Zanu PF officials and surrogate organisations are involved, was gifted a licence by the government in a bid to undermine Strive Masiyiwa’s Econet Wireless which had to fight a costly five-year court battle to be allowed to operate.
The favouritism has continued with Econet forced, in 2013, to pay its licence renewal fee of US$137 million in full while Telecel has to date paid a paltry US$5 million.
Telecoms minister Supa Mandiwanzira only claimed to have cancelled Telecel’s licence at the weekend as the ownership wrangle worsened.
Chiyangwa meanwhile, hit out at Leo Mugabe after the latter accused the property tycoon, Jane Mutasa and exiled businessman James Makamba of being crooks.
The rivals are all shareholders in the Empowerment Corporation which holds a 40 percent interest in Telecel Zimbabwe.
Said Leo: “We have had three doctors of extortion in the Empowerment Co-operation namely Makamba, Mutasa and Chiyangwa, extorting the general public of their shares, flagrantly taking away the value Government had given to the general populace in the form of the AAG (Affirmative Action Group), IBBO (Indigenous Business Women Organisation) and war veterans, among others.”
But Chiyangwa said Leo, owner of a company called company IEG, failed to pay for his shareholding after issuing a cheque which bounced.
“This (bounced cheque) was around 1998 when we had just started. In business you must be as honourable to others as they are to you,” said Chiyangwa.
“We were together when he (Leo) failed to meet his part of the bargain and this is one person who even after the meeting did fail to come up with the money. I am utterly shocked to hear that he calls us crooks, who does he want to crook here?”
He added: “Leo, you did not pay, so rest in peace. You don’t go around issuing bouncing cheques and you claim value.”
Leo Mugabe however, welcomed the government’s decision to cancel Telecel’s licence.
“We are happy and we commend the stance Government has taken. We are ready to give Government all the evidence of extortion that happened in the past 17 years, not just extortion, but also outright theft,” he said.