By Staff Reporter
FINANCE Minister Patrick Chinamasa has denied claims that former First Lady Grace Mugabe and her son-in-law Simba Chikore has any business interests in the new planes acquired by government
“I wish to categorically state the aeroplane that is outside there is the property and asset of the Government of Zimbabwe,” Chinamasa told State journalists Wednesday as government took delivery of a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft from Malaysia.
The new jet is part of an envisaged fleet of 10 aeroplanes to be managed under a new company tasked to boost the local aviation sector.
Chinamasa added, “I know speculation has been rife that the aircraft belonged to the former First Family.
“That is wrong and I am here to set the record straight. Simba Chikore (ex-President Mugabe’s son-in-law) has no interests in the business, directly or indirectly.”
Chinamasa said Chikore, who was one of the pilots who flew the plane from Malaysia, was initially roped in to offer technical support and assist in negotiating the deal.
“Simba Chikore has no shareholding in this plane,” he said.
“We only recruited him to assist us with technical support during the negotiations since he has vast experience in the aircraft industry.”
Chikore, married to the Mugabe’s first born and only daughter, Bona, resigned as Air Zimbabwe Chief Operating Officer November last year.
His resignation came hard on the heels of Mugabe’s ouster by the military in November.
The pilot’s appointment to the influential Air Zimbabwe job was strongly condemned by Zimbabweans who felt it was as an act of nepotism by the country’s former leader.