Mnangagwa seizes Simba Chikore’s Robert Mugabe planes

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has hinted that the Zimbabwe Airways plane with the registration number Z-RGM (Zimbabwe-Robert Gabriel Mugabe) does not belong to the Mugabe family, but instead to the state.

Chinamasa earlier said: “I’m here to categorically state that this plane is the property of the Republic of Zimbabwe and not the former First Family.”

 The plane touched down earlier today and aboard was former President Robert Mugabe’s daughter Bona and her husband Simba Chikore.

Former Air Zimbabwe chief operations officer Simbarashe Chikore was part of the crew that flew the plane from Malaysia.

This comes as the local Daily News reports that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is moving to impound aeroplanes linked to deposed Mugabe’s family, which stands accused of acquiring the aircraft through taxpayers’ money.

Many took to social media accusing Chikore who has been out of the country several months now after the ousting of his father in law, of having bought the planes corruptly using ZINARA funds.

 The Daily News further reports that Chikore, who was briefly chief operating officer at struggling flag carrier Air Zimbabwe, as well as the increasingly under scrutiny Transport minister Joram Gumbo, were reported at the time to have been intimately involved in the formation of Zim Airways, as well as the purchase of the aircraft.

Well-placed sources told the paper yesterday that Mnangagwa had apparently ordered that one of the planes — a Boeing 777 jet liner which is arriving at the Robert Mugabe International Airport today — be immediately parked among Air Zimbabwe’s fleet upon landing, until a probe establishing how Zim Airways acquired its fleet is completed.

Apart from investigating the funding of the planes, Mnangagwa is also said to be keen to know the exact shareholding structure of the airline, in the light of its allegedly “opaque” set-up.

“Unless the probe exonerates the role players, chances are that these planes will be  seized and added to the Air Zim fleet. The pressure has also been on Gumbo to bring the planes home while investigations continue.

“Alternatively, he was told that if the planes could not be brought back home, he should at least recover every penny paid for them,” one of the sources familiar with the issue said. daily news

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