By Nyasha Chuma
SECRETARY for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development George Guvamatanga will travel to the UK on a private jet to watch his favourite English Premier League team, Arsenal courtesy of business tycoon Kuda Tagwirei, Zim Morning Post can report.
Guvamatanga received the present at a razzmatazz birthday bash held in Harare on Wednesday night. He also received US$50,000 spending money for sight visits and other luxuries in the UK.
Presenting the extravagant gift that mirrored the night’s pomp and funfair, Tagwirei who is accused of profiting significantly from the misappropriation of property at the expense of wider macroeconomic stability in Zimbabwe, said he had decided to charter a flight for Guvamatanga and his wife for time-efficiency and quicker check-ins with the purse of US$50,000 covering the impulse expenses of the travel.
The total package of the present is well over US$100,000.
On Wednesday night, the crème de la crème in Zimbabwe’s finance sector and members of the First Family gathered at a venue in Sunningdale in a frontal display of wealth.
The party was also graced by heavy weights in the construction industry who are currently servicing the emergency road rehabilitation tenders.
The former Barclays Zimbabwe CEO treated his guests to a night of glamour.
He flew in popular South African artists, Makhadzi and Mafikizolo with Makhadzi leaving the VIP guests eating from her palm with her popular songs, ‘Murahu’, ‘Kokovha’ and ‘Madhakutswa’ while Mafikizolo performed their hit track Ngeke Balunge among others.
Zimbabwean artist based in South Africa, an award-winning guitarist and producer, Louis Mhlanga was also a headline act at the event.
And as the show reached fever pitch Guvatamatanga told singer-songwriter and group member of Mafikizolo, Theo Kgosinkwe, that he would pay the outfit five times more than the agreed amount.
A report in South Africa’s movemag magazine at the end of 2014 claimed that Mafikizolo costs nothing less than R80,000 per gig minus flights and other out-of-country essentials.
“Whatever was on that bill, because I don’t want to disclose I am multiplying what was on that bill by five. Tomorrow morning, you give me your bank details, by the time you get to South Africa, that amount by five will be in your account my brother,” he said.
DJ and Television Personality, Tich Mataz, who was the Master of Ceremony gleed in response “fantastic!”
The lavish display of wealth is in sharp contrast to the poverty crippling half of Zimbabwe’s population due to combined effects of runaway prices and economic contraction occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest Rapid Poverty Income Expenditure Survey.
The glitz and glamour birthday celebrations, are in tandem with the lifestyle of the senior civil servant in the Finance ministry, having splashed US$50 000 on a kitchen suite makeover at his Harare house.
Zim Morning Post reported how Guvamatanga in early 2020 made the purchase of the expensive kitchen suite at Tusilago Kitchens, located along Seke Road in Harare.
The place is known for top notch kitchen make-overs that attracted the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai who also bought an almost similar suite for his then fiancée Elizabeth Macheka in 2012. Tsvangirai’s suite cost US$40 000.
Sources told this publication that the exclusive suite is within the Memphis Cherry family, and is one of the most expensive brands sold by Tusilago.
Guvamatanga’s position renders him the most powerful civil servant in the finance ministry.
He has had his fair share of controversy, topping the list being in April 2020 when he approved a controversial US$2 million COVID-19 emergency supplies to a company known as Drax International.
The heavily inflated Covid-19 medical equipment deal did not go tender.
In his defence, he argued that the government did not lose any money as a result of the contract.