Mliswa demands US$15m from Rautenbach

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Temba Mliswa

Zanu-PF Mashonaland West chairman Mr Temba Mliswa is now demanding US$15 million in defamation reparations from business tycoon Mr Conrad “Billy” Rautenbach for allegedly calling him an “extortionist”. In the potentially explosive case, now unfolding after Mr Mliswa claimed Mr Rautenbach owes him US$165 million for securing critical stakes in three major business ventures, the vocal politician gave the businessman up to last Thursday to respond.

Mr Mliswa, through his lawyer, Mr Jonathan Samkange of Venturas and Samkange, said he would take the matter to court after they did not hear from Mr Rautenbach.

Mr Rautenbach could not be reached for comment yesterday.

“Our client’s claim for damages is in the sum of US$15 million for defamation of character,” said Mr Samkange in a letter to the multi-millionaire.

“Unless we hear from you as to how you intend to settle our client’s claims by no later than noon 10th of April 2014, summons will be issued against you without any further warning.”

Mr Samkange said his client was entitled to the damages after his reputation was tainted by an article in The Herald, which quoted Mr Rautenbach calling him an extortionist.

“We act on behalf of our above-named client, who is the Member of Parliament for Hurungwe West. He has instructed us to demand payment for damages arising from your defamatory statement published in The Herald of the 1st of April 2014. This article appeared on the front page as the lead story.

“You accused our client of being an ‘extortionist’. In the article you further claimed that our client victimised you. These allegations are false, malicious and defamatory. The statement was designed to injure the reputation of our client, who is the Member of Parliament for Hurungwe West and the chairman of Zanu-PF Mashonaland West Province.”

He added: “The article was widely read both in the print media and electronic media, making it accessible throughout the world.

“This has brought embarrassment and humiliation to our client, family, friends and fellow legislators. When you caused this article to be published you were fully aware of the effect it would have on our client. It is clear from the article that you intended to injure our client’s good name and reputation.”

The dramatic fall-out between Mr Rautenbach and Mr Mliswa emerged after the Hurungwe West legislator claimed that the businessman owed him US$165 million for the role he played in securing the former’s business interests in Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant, Unki Platinum Mines and Hwange Colliery Company.

He claimed to have facilitated meetings with high-ranking officials who include Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa; Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu, who was then the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, as well as Deputy Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Mr Tendai Savanhu, who was the chairman of Hwange Colliery.

He also claimed that Arda chairman Mr Basil Nyabadza facilitated the Chisumbanje deal in exchange for an upmarket house in Mutare.
Minister Mutasa and Mr Nyabadza have since distanced themselves from the matter.

Mr Mliswa demanded US$100 million as his 10 percent shareholding in a Unki Mine concession, which, he says, Mr Rautenbach improperly sold for US$1 billion to British investors.

He said there was strong reason to believe that only a portion of that US$1 billion came into Zimbabwe, and was used to start up operations at Chisumbanje.

The legislator claimed that the additional US$65 million was for a stake in Green Fuel, the company producing ethanol in Chisumbanje.
For some time, Mr Mliswa was paid US$10 for every tonne of coal mined at Hwange and US$5 per tonne of coke.

A tonne of coal costs no less than US$100.

The coal and coke payments were later stopped and Mr Rautenbach’s contract with Hwange was cancelled because, according to the party provincial chairman, he exported the coke instead of supplying it to Hwange Thermal Power Station.

Mr Mliswa also alleges that Green Fuel recently failed to supply ethanol to the market because Mr Rautenbach had exported four million litres of the product to settle unrelated obligations outside Zimbabwe.

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  • Onini

    Inasmuch as Jonathan Samkange is in business, it is high time he has to be morally right to take certain cases. One has to be principled and refuse representation where cases are morally negative to society. Samkange knows pretty well that he is defending a criminal nd the criminality runs down within the family. Is there any need to tarnish your image unless it is for the sake of money? You have got the money already but what of the society which you claim to represent???

    • mwana wevhu

      a man can not approach the courts claiming damages for a reputation he does not possess. certainly Temba does not have a reputation worth 15m. Samkange needs to have principles and correctly advise his client.

    • Kusvikazvanaka

      So even lawyers in Zimbabwe are encouraging corruption? So sad? This Mliswa guy is a thief..he is worse than a fire fighter who becomes an arsonist by night so he gets overtime! Too bad.

  • watecher

    serously themba!

    • Chiruzevha Chapera

      eeh zvake, 15m….is he worth that much?

      • Chovha

        Makavaziva sei usd165million
        Wakaudzirei vanhu usd 5million.
        Chokwadi nyika inobudirira sei.Themba akadeportwa kubva kuUK a few years ago he is already a billionaire kuba vanhu takatarisa achitotaura mabiro acho.Munhu iyeye ndichairman wezanu zvinorevei apa tirikunzi kune hondo yecorruption.VanaMutasa nanaMpofu vanofanira kutaira.
        BATAI MUNHU!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Joker T!

        This guy will stop at nothing to get any money lying loose out there!

  • Chiruzevha Chapera

    themba started it knowing very well that billy will not let thongs lie down, he hit back a low jab and themba is crying foul…if you live in a glass house themba…..

  • Chanhuhwa chii?

    Someone explained Themba as one whose game is that of starting bush fire….there he goes.

  • corruption

    what Mliswa did is called rent-seeking in corruption, and to think that the police havn’t yet picked him up for questioning boggles the mind. our society has indeed gone bananas

    • Kusvikazvanaka

      And all this in RGM’s eyes. This issue is so embarrassing. Where is Jona Moyo who tals even about a cockroach in a can of water

  • Makwavarara

    This is extortion temba zuro Watorera murungu uya mombe dzake nhasi wava neuyu ivo varungu unoda zvinhu zvavo temba ok kushanda haudi?

  • Tongo

    If Billy entered into an agreement with Temba to pay him $165m and then failed to do so only to turn around to accuse Temba of being an extortionist, then the brother has got every right to sue him. It’s up to the courts to decide. It is so easy to hate a fellow brother for his successes. He has done well for himself as a businessman and politician. There are so many people with political connections, who have failed to use them. Temba is good at that and lets give him the kudos. Temba becomes the issue and not Billy, who has built a vast business empire on corrupt activities. He has had problems with the authorities in SA, DRC and Botswana and funnily, not in Zim!!

  • Tongo

    If Billy entered into an agreement with Temba to pay him $165m and then failed to do so only to turn around to accuse Temba of being an extortionist, then the brother has got every right to sue him. It’s up to the courts to decide. It is so easy to hate a fellow brother for his successes. He has done well for himself as a businessman and politician. There are so many people with political connections, who have failed to use them. Temba is good at that and lets give him the kudos. Temba becomes the issue and not Billy, who has built a vast business empire on corrupt activities. He has had problems with the authorities in SA, DRC and Botswana and funnily, not in Zim!!

    • Welcome Zimuto

      You are right on that one Billy is a thorn in the fight against corruption he is more corrupt than Themba by far and he deserves to be dragged to courts 15 million is nothing actualky Billy has benefited Billions out of his dirty deals period .Piwa bucky Themba .

  • bob

    Let him Sue this Billy. Makapusa too much maZimbo. You allow yourselves to be tossed around by these white boys :-(. When one of us decides to stand up against them you denigrate him. No wonder why we never succeed…

  • Mudzidzisi Ticha Benard

    15m? anopenga Temba. ngaashande awane 15m kwete kuda kupfuma mahara. I dont think our courts are stupid to award him 15m

  • Jongwe

    Mr. Themba? Why not the other title, Cde?? Makuda kudzingwa basa manje.

  • Mwii

    This is serious conflict of interest how can a member of parliament go and represent himself in a personal capacity in deal that should benefit the country he should be serving, and since when can one sue for an unpaid bribe ’twas salary gate now bribe gate and we look on

  • GeorgeBachinche

    Does ZANU of not have. Disciplinary procedure. This Temba’s is embarSsing

  • tanatswa

    This is not about black or white. It is about morality and credibility. Both these men exist in an immoral space, fleecing people and government. Government and Zanu PF have facilitated this immorality and corruption and now Zimbabweans have to be subjected to this nonsense.