Zimbabwe signed US$130 million deal with “British” investor without proof of funds, now blames workers for sabotaging agreement


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Zimbabwe signed a US$130 million deal with “British” investor Boustead Beef to take over operations of the Cold Storage Company for at least25 years without any proof that the company had funds.

Now more than a year after taking over, the government, it seems, has been duped by the company  to buy the story that it could not implement the agreement because its operations were sabotaged by CSC workers and management.

The government has now taken the CSC to court to place it under judicial management because  it is “financially distressed”, thus literally exonerating Boustead Beef, according to papers filed at the High Court by Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka.

Masuka may have filed the papers but they have all the hallmarks of having been drafted by Boustead Beef as they have the language and claims that the company has made since it took over the CSC in February last year.

Some of the claims are so bizarre and so glaring that they should have raised an alarm with the government drafters, unless there is something between the lines that the government wants to prove.

According to the court papers:

  • Boustead Beef procured the services of an audit report from Soft Energy Supply Chain Management Company at a cost of US$3 million.
  • It engaged cold room chain management companies to refurbish, operate and manage cold room chain systems across the facilities.
  • It is in the process of procuring an independent power producer licence and plans to produce 120MW at five CSC properties and has engaged Soventix International and Hydrocraft Projects.
  • It removed Wet Blue from judicial management in October last year.
  • It negotiated and concluded partnership agreements with Fabwell Farming.
  • It has developed new business models for pasture and grass feedlots.
  • It is in the process of finalizing contracts to supply 50 000 tonnes of beef to Angola, 2 000 tonnes per month to Hongkong, 22000 tonnes to Malta and has potential orders from United Arab Emirates, Russia, United Kingdom, Malaysia and South America.

Workers, however, say these are all phantasies that Boustead has been selling the government. There is nothing on the ground, except perhaps the removal of Wet Blue from judicial management but they argue that credit for this should not go to Boustead Beef.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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