Johannesburg - SA-based businessman Frank Buyanga, who had recently been accused of graft involving land deals in Zimbabwe, is in the clear after his accuser ZANU-PF Secretary for Youth League Lewis Matutu on Friday admitted that he did not have any evidence to back up the allegations.
Buyanga had been fingered in a much publicised land graft swoop which sucked in top politicians and business people in Zimbabwe.
Matters came to a head after President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared in July that he had given the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission “new teeth”.
The influential ruling ZANU-PF youth league then went on to release a list of prominent business people, included the Johannesburg-based Buyanga demanding that they be arrested on suspicion of corrupt land acquisition.
For the past three weeks, the flamboyant business has denied any involvement in tainted land deals and instead challenged Matutu to provide proof of any wrongdoing on his part.
Last month, in an unprecedented move, Buyanga placed newspaper adverts in newspapers in Zimbabwe, refuting the allegations and demanding that the influential Matutu provide evidence of any wrongdoing by himself or any of his companies.
However, on Friday, Matutu recanted the allegation and suggested that he was misquoted in the story in which he was said to have fingered Buyanga in land graft.
“I checked with the people who wrote the story. I only say things that I have evidence on. I never said anything about Buyanga,” Matutu said.
Zimbabwe’s newly constituted anti-graft body has been on a blitz. So far Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira - who has since been arrested and sacked over graft allegations involving millions of US dollars - remains the most prominent person to be brought down by the anti-corruption body.
Last year in October Buyanga was cleared of any wrongdoing in Zimbabwe after a probe by that country's Attorney General’s (AG) office into multiple complaints over properties the businessman took over after his debtors defaulted on agreed repayments.
Buyanga has an impressive property portfolio with more than 500 houses in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
African News Agency (ANA)