THE British company that sold and delivered a £335 000 Rolls Royce Phantom to a “mysterious Zimbabwean minister” has backed down and said the vehicle was actually sold to an ordinary Zimbabwean.
This followed an outburst of anger from Zimbabweans who blasted government officials for their penchant to showcase opulence in a sea of poverty.
GVE London, one of the United Kingdom’s leading independent suppliers of luxury vehicles, took to microblogging site Twitter last week saying they were delivering the luxurious vehicle to one of their top clients in Zimbabwe who is a minister, but did not mention the name.
This raised speculation that it could have been Youth deputy minister Tino Machakaire. Machakaire runs a successful transport and logistics business trading as Tinmac with the latest trucks running into several hundreds. His business straddles the southern Africa region.
“GVE London would like to apologise for any misunderstanding caused by a recent video posted on our social media implying that a vehicle we recently sold was being sold to a Minister in Zimbabwe,” the company said in a terse
“This was incorrect. The employee that made the statement was not involved in the sale of the vehicle and did not know that this vehicle was actually being sold to a private individual. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Zimbabweans had reacted angrily, accusing the Zanu PF elite of being insensitive to the plight of the ordinary people, although the Wedza South Zanu PF MP, according to his supporters, could afford any type of luxurious car due to his financial muscle acquired before getting into politics.
However, the ruling Zanu PF party and government officials fell over each other defending the purchase, saying it was everyone’s right to buy any vehicle of their choice as long as they could afford.
A British Liberal Democrat and member of the House of Lords, Jonathan Oates, on Monday said he would raise questions in Parliament over how the transaction was handled, with the aim of forcing the UK government to act if evidence of wrongdoing was unearthed.
He said he would also ask his government whether there had been discussions between the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Bank of England on whether foreign currency regulations were followed during the transaction.
Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi immediately hit back, saying that the British are hypocrites.
Togarepi said he would, in turn, raise a motion in Parliament for the UK government to return what “they stole from us”.