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Indian business mogul tried to defraud Zimbabwean govt over $100 million

by Staff reporter
03 Apr 2024 at 06:07hrs | Views
Documents obtained by NewZimbabwe reveal that Ashok Jain, an Indian businessman, attempted to defraud the Zimbabwean government of over US$100 million in a dubious deal.

According to these documents from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Jain, representing NV Distilleries and Breweries, approached then RBZ Governor John Mangudya with a Letter of Intent.

In this letter, Jain proposed the establishment of an ethanol plant similar to Billy Rautenbach's Greenfuel, promising to produce poultry feed, generate power, and manufacture fertilizer.

In return for his investment, Jain requested 6,000 hectares of land near a dam, covering at least 200 hectares, free of charge, along with exemption from import duties and levies for machinery and equipment. He also demanded repayment for any buildings constructed on the land within five years and sought a line of credit of approximately US$100 million, potentially extending to US$165 million, facilitated by the Indian government.

Jain's letter, dated November 1, 2021, asserted that the project would directly and indirectly employ over 3,000 people and boost Zimbabwe's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Despite Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) approval, valued at US$125 million according to a May 18, 2022 letter, the RBZ raised concerns.

Governor Mangudya clarified that the Zimbabwean government lacked any credit facility agreement with India and could not finance Jain's proposed venture, as he claimed to possess the necessary resources himself. According to ZIDA's approval letter, Jain had pledged to invest US$97,850,000 over three years, with US$32,616,667 coming from personal funds.

In response, Mangudya stated that without confirmation of the US$165 million line of credit from the Indian government, the RBZ couldn't support issuing the required US$125 million Standby Letter of Credit.

Apart from these financial dealings, Jain faces allegations of intimidation, including exploiting a photo with President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intimidate locals. Jain's visit to Mnangagwa was arranged by Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Joram Gumbo, who has since defended himself amidst revelations of Jain's prior arrest for smuggling in India. Notably, Gumbo refrained from disclosing whether he was aware of Jain's reported mental instability, following smuggling allegations in 2020 and 2021.

Jain's claims of being the third most influential politician in India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), contrary to Rajnath Singh's actual position, raise further doubts about his mental state.

Source - newzimbabwe