Wednesday 28 February 2024


A BUSINESSWOMAN is allegedly using names of high-profile individuals, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa, to lay siege to a Chinese coal mine in Hwange where she has been seizing coke since last week, it has emerged.

Gutai Lisa-Marie Maropafadzo is said to have taken about 700 tonnes of coke worth US$300 000 from Hwange Coal Gasification Company (HCGC) in the company of thugs, and at times police officers, claiming that it was part of an agreement she reached with the company in December last year for the provision of security services.

Coke is a residue of coal and is used as a fuel as well as a reducing agent in smelting iron ore in a blast furnace.

Maropafadzo, who has been previously linked to a multi-million-dollar scandal that rocked Cottco, is said to have told HCGC during the raids that she is untouchable because she has close links with Mnangagwa and police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told NewsDay on Monday that the woman was an impostor.

“The commissioner-general does not know this woman neither does he have any links or relations with her,” Nyathi said.

“We also want to say that according to the information we have as the police in this case, His Excellency the President has no links with the woman.”

Nyathi said police were aware of the wrangle between Maropafadzo and HCGC over coke.

HCGC at the weekend wrote to the police in Matabeleland North province seeking their intervention to stop Maropafadzo from forcibly taking coke from the mine and disrupting operations.

This was after violent clashes erupted at the mine last Thursday as Maropafadzo forcibly took more coke from the company after she obtained a High Court order permitting her to access 700 tonnes of coke.

HCGC said it was never made aware of the court application, adding that it was not accorded the chance to oppose it.

The company said it suspected that Maropafadzo obtained the court order fraudulently.

Nyathi said police managed to temporarily stop Maropafadzo from taking more coke after the coal company had indicated that it intended to appeal against the court ruling.

“Police were at the scene and managed to temporarily stop the woman from taking more coke until the matter is heard at the court,” said Nyathi.

“The officer commanding Matabeleland North province had to intervene, because we can not allow violence to take centre stage.

“This is because as police, we do not condone violence. Both parties must ensure that they resolve their dispute amicably. We intervene to stop violence and parties must engage police and not resort to violence.

“Where there are compelling issues, parties must approach the courts.

“Otherwise, we do not take any side in the case.”

Nyathi warned the public against using names of prominent people to commit crime.

“We want to caution members of the public against name-dropping smearing the names of people who are innocent,” he said.  “If we ask those people to substantiate their allegation they will be found wanting.”

HCGC is run by Chinese national Feng Guo and the company says Maropafadzo’s actions will soil relations between Harare and Beijing.

The company reported her to the police for theft under Report Record Book  number 5755005.

“We were served with court order of case HCGC371/24 by Sheriff with surprise on February 23, 2024,” part of the letter to the police read.

“The order looks fake from its appearance as no service of application was done to HCGC, no set down was held to grant the order.

“Though we have respect for the court, we believe the irregularity of order needs to be carefully examined in order to protect our company interest as well as maintain justice.” Efforts to get comment from Maropafadzo were unsuccessful. She requested questions in writing when NewsDay called her yesterday. The businesswoman, however, did not respond to submitted questions. Newsday


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