Unconfirmed reports suggest the late General Solomon Mujuru left behind an estate worth an estimated US$9 billion, sources said on Tuesday.
The sources, citing correspondence between lawyers representing the general’s family and children, said it looks like there is going to be a big battle for the estate. Complicating matters is the fact that many of the children were born to women other than his wife Joice.
Earlier this year Vice President Joice Mujuru shocked guests at a memorial service for her late husband by lifting the lid on his cheating love life, describing him as a womanizer. She also promised to welcome children fathered by the General out of wedlock, as long as DNA tests proved the paternity.
‘If there is anywhere where my husband reached, he left a mark in my house. Any child who comes to claim that he belongs to the Mujuru family, he will have to undergo DNA tests,’ the Vice-President said.
Joyce & Solomon Mujuru Decorated Liberation War Veterans
Since that announcement SW Radio Africa is reliably informed that the number children claiming to have been sired by the whisky loving General has risen to almost 50, from an initial 15.
Mujuru, one of Zimbabwe’s most decorated army generals, died in a fire at his farm in Beatrice, about 100km south west of Harare. He was 62. The business mogul was husband to the current Vice President Joice.
Before his death Mujuru was well known for his diverse business ventures, which included mining, agriculture, transport, tourism and investment in the construction industry.
A finance expert told us that for the executor to come out with such a huge figure he would have looked at anything that had a value, such as money in banks, houses and land, including farmland, businesses, or business assets.
‘There is lot of things that they also look at and that includes investments such as stocks and shares, including family shares and personal belongings,’ the expert said.
But Luke Zunga, an economic analyst told us he believed that the figure will be reduced considerably when the executor and lawyers settle Mujuru’s debts and liabilities.
‘These can be outstanding mortgages, bank overdrafts and taxes paid out to the treasury. But Mujuru is one of many top ZANU PF officials to have amassed so much wealth over a long period of time.
‘These people have been in power for more than 30 years and can you imagine the impunity, with which they corruptly amassed that wealth without any hindrance from the police or anyone,’ Zunga said.
Although extremely rich and powerful, Mujuru remained modest and assuming and always shied away from the limelight. He however displayed a ruthless streak when building his substantial business empire.
In 2001 he targeted white commercial farmer Guy Watson-Smith and violently removed him off his two farms in Beatrice. Ironically he died on one of these farms.
Watson-Smith was made to leave the Alamein and Elim farms with only his briefcase. Mujuru sold off all his property including lorries, tractors, irrigation equipment and household furniture. The farmer and his family fled to South Africa soon after their lawyers filed a High Court application against Mujuru, who had taken assets worth an estimated US$2.5 million. Watson-Smiths lawyers in the case were attacked and assaulted.
Another insight into Mujuru’s character was to come when he sued the now defunct Horizon Magazine over a story he felt was defamatory. On realising that the editor of the magazine, Andy Moyse, was white Mujuru is reported to have told the court: “If I had known white people had defamed me, I would have shot them.”
Before his wife became vice-president, she was known for blocking a bid to set up Zimbabwe’s first mobile phone network in the early 1990s. As Information Minister she blocked Econet long enough for Telecel to set up. Telecel was part owned by her husband.
In April 2004 Mujuru controversially took over the River Ranch diamond mine, with the help of Adel Abdul Rahman al Aujan, a millionaire Saudi real estate developer. The previous owners Adele and Michael Farquhar were forced off the property by police at gunpoint. Despite the courts passing judgement in favour of the Farquhar’s, Mujuru continued to occupy and mine the area.
When the Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe refused to buy the diamonds from this mine, Mujuru flexed his muscles in the ZANU PF Central Committee and had the entire board replaced. Allegations have been made that the mine is being used to launder some of the diamond plunder from contracts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, secured by Mujuru and his allies. This is because their production numbers don’t tally with revenue.
SW Radio Africa also revealed how Mujuru’s daughter, Nyasha del Campo, tried to set up a deal on behalf of her parents involving illegal gold from the DRC. She and her husband Pedro live in the Spanish capital Madrid and set up two companies there, allegedly with the help and financial support of the parents. The deal involved shipping about US$35 million worth of gold nuggets per month to Switzerland.
Firstar, a company with offices in Europe, said Mujuru’s daughter offered to sell them the gold from the DRC. The company said it withdrew from the deal when it realized who Nyasha was. The company also claimed that Vice President Joice Mujuru then phoned their Chief Executive in Europe, demanding that the decision be reversed.
The retired general once declared he didn’t fight the liberation war to end up a poor man.
Mujuru’s business interests
In the 1990s, Mujuru reportedly owned most of the commercial properties in Bindura, about 85km from Harare. Most of his businesses were said to be fronted by cronies, which a source said made it difficult for the Mujuru family to consolidate the estate.
Mujuru’s interests included Willdale Bricks, in which he owned 40% through Dahaw Trading. Two of his daughters, Nyasha Mujuru del Campo and Maidei Mujuru, were directors of the latter company.
Nyasha was also a director of Khuphukile Resources, through which her father owned 20% of River Ranch, a Beitbridge-based diamond company majority-owned by Saudi tycoon Adel Abdul Rahman al Aujan through his investment vehicle, Rani Investment. River Ranch is being liquidated.
And Mujuru had an interest in Zim Alloys, which he acquired as part of a consortium, Benscore Investments.