Harare-Zimbabwe: The Zimbabwean government is battling to register two airbus planes purchased early this year from Paris, France through a closely guarded deal between the government and a Chinese-Angolan joint venture company, China Sonangol, it has emerged.
Impeccable sources from Air Zimbabwe told that the government as the main shareholder was having some registration challenges to ensure that the planes can get to Zimbabwe.“The team that visited France last month came back empty handed despite earlier commitments that the first delivery would be made before September 20, 2011. What I see as the biggest challenge is the issue of ownership of the planes because the management of Air Zimbabwe have no idea where the money to buy the planes is coming from,” said a source.
There is a lot of money involved, according to the source, and the government is not coming clean of the whole deal.
“The other solution was to have the planes registered through the Netherlands but it’s still not yet clear. The planes are a result of a deal with China Sonangol but the government is very quiet on it,” said the source.
However Air Zimbabwe board chairperson Jonathan Kadzura denied that the planes were being bought through a deal with Sonangol and denied to shed light.
“This certainly has nothing to do with Sonangol and because of the little information that I have, I can’t give you any further details,” said Kadzura before hanging his phone.
Air Zimbabwe acting chief executive officer Innocent Mavhunga declined to comment on the matter maintaining the matter was a shareholder issue.
“That is a shareholder issue and I can’t comment on that. I do not have any comments to make on that matter,” said Mavhunga.
In 2009 the government of Zimbabwe signed five deals with China Sonangol worth US$8 billion that were said would help the country see investment pour into various key sectors of the economy.
Key sectors that were said would benefit under the deal include mining and housing, among others.
The package was a culmination of a meeting between President Mugabe and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Egypt at the summit of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation.