Africa

Solomon Mujuru estate under wraps to avoid multiple claimants

Kennedy Maposa

The estate of the late army general is being carefully managed following claims on behalf of illegitimate children and creditors.

Thousands of mourners gathered at the National Heroes Acre for the burial of Solomon Mujuru, the country's first defence chief and husband of Vice-President Joyce Mujuru on August 20 2011 in Harare. (AFP)

This is to avoid bringing embarrassment to Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

A source close to Mujuru said a number of women claiming to have had children fathered by her former husband were seeking to benefit from his estate. The source said a substantial number of creditors were also waiting for registration.

The estate remains unregistered more than a year after Mujuru died in a mysterious fire at his farmhouse in August 2011.

He had vast interests in mining, agriculture, telecommunications and construction, among other sectors.

An official at the Master of the High Court, who declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the press, said the estate was likely be handled "personally" by the master, although "we would still register it here".

Thakor Kewada, the lawyer representing the Mujuru family, confirmed that the estate had not yet been registered, but said that it was likely to take place over the next few weeks. Kewada said that he was waiting for the family to provide an inventory of everything in the estate.

Speaking at her husband's memorial service, Joice Mujuru acknow-ledged that many children were likely to make claims against the estate, but said that she would insist that all such claimants take a DNA test.

However, a legal expert who asked not to be named said she had no legal basis for making such a demand if the childrens' birth certificates indicated that Mujuru was their father. \

Kewada declined to comment on the possibility of DNA tests, but said "a few people might come [forward]".

"Just this morning, I received a message from a lawyer in Italy claiming to represent a child. This particular name has not featured before."

Speculation is rife that the registration of the estate is being carefully managed to avoid disclosing details of the former general's accumulation of wealth.

Mujuru's business interests
In the 1990s, Mujuru reportedly owned most of the commercial properties in Bindura, about 85km from Harare. Most of his businesses were said to be fronted by cronies, which a source said made it difficult for the Mujuru family to consolidate the estate. 

Mujuru's interests included Willdale Bricks, in which he owned 40% through Dahaw Trading. Two of his daughters, Nyasha Mujuru del Campo and Maidei Mujuru, were directors of the latter company.

Nyasha was also a director of Khuphukile Resources, through which her father owned 20% of River Ranch, a Beitbridge-based diamond company majority-owned by Saudi tycoon Adel Abdul Rahman al Aujan through his investment vehicle, Rani Investment. River Ranch is being liquidated.

And Mujuru had an interest in Zim Alloys, which he acquired as part of a consortium, Benscore Investments.

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