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British investor deported from Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter
15 Jun 2018 at 11:14hrs | Views
A BRITISH citizen Kenneth Vincent Grant-Coker, who was deported a fortnight ago for overstaying in the country, has written to Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu accusing the Immigration department of "corruption and lack of professionalism".

Grant-Coker, who claims that he wanted to bring investment totalling $100 billion into Zimbabwe, said he was hounded out of the country like a criminal because he refused to pay bribes to immigration officers.

"It is clear that if you do not pay immigration their ‘pound of flesh' you will end up in remand with no recourse to your legal rights. I tried to do the right thing, I could have got my passport stamped at a cost of $1 200, but instead for my openness I was hounded taken to court and ended up in remand…," he said in the May 30, 2018 missive seen by The Financial Gazette.

Grant-Coker said after he paid his admission of guilty on May 24, he was detained for three days before he was allowed to return to England although he had already bought his airline ticket well in advance.

"It is clear that immigration officials consider themselves above the law, either the law and the Constitution is paramount or it is not. Immigration can place anyone in remand on the basis of a photocopy note signed by one of its officials and once in remand you lose all your rights," he said.

"During this whole process I was never once informed of my rights by immigration or the border police, nor has clause 50 section 5 clause d/e of the Constitution been complied with. Finally, as a consequence of the way I have been treated the investors I represent are to say the least very upset, and wish to remove the investment proposals from Zimbabwe and take them to Zambia."

The latest development comes at a time when United Kingdom-based investment firm 360° World Time had indicated to the government that it would pull out its intended project in Zimbabwe if its point man - Grant-Coker - was deported.

360° Time World Development, through its subsidiary 55°Time, is on a mission to position and develop 24 Timepiece Ultra Luxury Towers in 24 leading cities of the world.

The group's director Tav Singh early this year wrote to Immigration's principal officer Clemence Masango pleading with him to assist Grant-Coker with a resident permit.

"Our company would like to advise you that it has invested in a large scale real estate project proposal which is now being proposed for Zimbabwe. There is much good in the plan to bring to the people of Zimbabwe and for the country to attract tourism.

"Our project(s) will create a high number of local jobs that will be funded from funds from abroad and therefore will require your assistance in the future for people like Ken Grant, our other technical staff and funders will need and require for immigration rights to stay in Zimbabwe to carry out the development work and investments that are being proposed for Zimbabwe in the future," read part of the March 12, 2018 letter.

Singh said Grant-Coker had submitted legal documents and detailed proposals to the Tourism ministry and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe "for the construction of an iconic Tower plaza, new tourist city, an offshore financial centre and new purpose built marina on Lake Kariba these together with ancillary infrastructure developments will bring massive investment into Zimbabwe that will exceed $100 billion over the next 5-7 years".

Singh further indicated that if Zimbabwe is to receive investments for the proposed projects, then Grant-Coker would be required to stay in the country for the protection and promotion of the company's business interests.

"We hope you can assist us in correcting this mistake and treat this matter as a special case. If you can allow… Grant-Coker to pay the over stay fine and remain in Zimbabwe, while his papers are being regularised, this would really make life easy for us all.

"If… Grant-Coker is to be banned from entry into Zimbabwe it will be difficult for us to find the skill set to replace him, which will prejudice the smooth flow of our intended investments into Zimbabwe," Singh added.

Meanwhile, Grant-Coker, who is currently in the United Kingdom and has appealed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to assist him to get a residence permit, told The Financial Gazette from his base that heads should roll at the immigration department where corruption is rife - a development that is pushing foreign investors.

"In order to resolve this matter to the satisfaction of everyone concerned I desire recompense and compensation for my financial losses and personal hardship and inconvenience caused and written assurance that I will be granted residency status.

"That a full and independent investigation is conducted into the management of the department and that the responsible officials are duly removed from office and banned from any further communication with the department either directly or indirectly," he said.

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Source - fingaz