Zanu-PF votes in SME Bank tzar

08 May 2018 | People

Former SME Bank director and nephew to 5% shareholder Enock Kamushinda, Ozias Bvute, has emerged as the Zanu-PF parliamentary candidate for the Goromonzi North Constituency in the neighbouring country.

Bvute secured an overwhelming 4 069 votes in the Zanu-PF primaries, comfortably putting him in pole position to win a seat in parliament for Zimbabwe's ruling party. His closest rival Nicholaas Matshika mustered a paltry 1 011 votes, while his other rivals Kudzai Majuru secured 122 votes David Mazhandu 51 votes.

Known locally for being at the centre of the unfolding SME Bank saga, which saw the institution first being placed under the curatorship of the Bank of Namibia in March last year, Bvute has a chequered past that includes being arrested for externalising foreign exchange in 2005.

Externalising foreign currency means converting a country's local currency into a foreign one without the approval of the central bank.

During his tenure as Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) MD Bvute, among other executives, was embroiled in a scandal around the alleged mismanagement of US$6 million obtained from the International Cricket Council, by investing it in Metbank, which later became a shareholder of SME Bank.

SME Bank was plunged into disarray after it emerged that dubious investments had been made in questionable assets in South Africa.

Bvute, by virtue of his directorship at Metbank, served as an SME Bank director.

The flashy businessman and his co-directors have been fighting against the liquidation of SME Bank following a High Court judgement that the bank would be placed under the guardianship of local liquidators Bruni and McLaren.

The SME Bank was placed in provisional liquidation on 11 July 2017, sealing the fate of 208 employees, who are now jobless.

At the time Bvute was a member of the board which gave the green light to transfer of between N$181 million and N$196 million to VBS Mutual Bank and Mamepe Capital between August and November 2016.

Ironically, VBS is the bank that gave former South African president Jacob Zuma a R7.8 million loan to settle debt relating to the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead back in 2016.

VBS has since been placed under curatorship.

As the SME Bank saga deepens, the Windhoek High Court recently ordered the setting up of a commission of inquiry that should investigate its financial collapse and the disappearance of the funds.

Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula granted an order establishing the commission of inquiry in terms of the Companies Act of 2004.

However, the SME Bank saga is not cramping Bvute's style and he is now gunning for the Zimbabwean parliament, after won a Zanu-PF primary for the Goromonzi North Constituency in the Mash East Province.

However, a rerun has been ordered in some constituencies.

Bvute holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Banking and Finance from India's Pune University.

ESPN backed CricInfo described Bvute as articulate, loud and flashy.

“He drives a BMW X5, wears stylish suits, and displays all the trappings of success in modern Zimbabwe. He is young, estimates put him in his early thirties - and runs his own business in Harare. One journalist told me that Bvute 'knows how to push the right and wrong buttons with people. He understands power, and can be intimidating intellectually and with his physical presence',” the sports website wrote in 2004.

Zimbabwean voters, who will go to the polls in July, directly elect the president, 210 MPs and more than 9 000 councillors.

Sixty women will be appointed through proportional representation to the lower house of parliament, while 60 people will be appointed in the upper senate via the same system.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) usually announces winners for parliament in their constituencies, while results for president are announced at the commission's headquarters in Harare within five days of voting.


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