Zimbabwean vice-president Constantino Chiwenga Picture: SUPPLIED
Zimbabwean vice-president Constantino Chiwenga Picture: SUPPLIED

Zimbabwe’s anti-graft commission has arrested the wife of one of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s deputies on fraud and money-laundering charges involving $1m (about R14.49m), a document seen by AFP revealed.

Anti-corruption officers detained 38-year-old Marry Mubaiwa, the wife of vice-president Constantino Guvheya Nyikadzino Chiwenga, on Saturday, according to a police report.

And according to details revealed in the charge sheet, Chiwenga himself appears to be challenging the legal basis of their marriage.

Former model Mubaiwa was arrested on suspicion of having contravened the Exchange Control Act and fraud, they said.

The charges filed by anti-corruption investigators accuse her of having transferred US$1m dollars from her foreign currency account in Zimbabwe to SA under the pretext of paying for goods bought there. Some of the money was used to buy a house in the upmarket Waterkloof Golf Estate in Pretoria, the charge sheet says. Mubaiwa is also accused of having bought two Range Rover cars and registering them in her name in SA.

Officers from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission say the alleged offences happened between October 2018 and May 2019.

And a fraud charge has raised questions about the legitimacy of Mubaiwa’s marriage to Chiwenga. In this charge, she is alleged to have misrepresented the circumstances of her wedding to Chiwenga, who is named as a complainant, to a high court judge.

Chiwenga, the complaint says, “was bedridden and not in a condition to consent to the marriage”. 

Chiwenga is a powerful figure in Zimbabwe, having led the coup that ousted long-time president Robert Mugabe. But he has suffered from ill-health for some time and only returned to the country in November after four months of being treated in China.

On his return, while he was welcomed by China’s deputy ambassador to Harare, Mubaiwa was absent. She was also absent from a welcome ceremony held for Chiwenga at his rural home.