by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – THE United Kingdom – born Zimbabwean businessman, Frank Buyanga, who was this week revealed as the owner of the owner of the multimillion-dollar Bugatti Veyron Fbg par Hermès that sent tongues wagging has a reputation of courting controversy and commendation in equal measure.
The South African-based entrepreneur, who is known for his lavish lifestyle is also a philanthropist who utilizes his wealth to empower fellow youth.
His latest act to get his compatriot talking is a US$2,2 million road monster, one of only 20 in the world, which has been splashed in various platforms since last week when it was offloaded at Robert Mugabe International airport in Harare.
Buyanga is said to have paid a staggering $1,9 million on import duty for the car to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA).
The man has been praised and also been attacked on social media but one thing for sure the man has become a source of envy to many Zimbabweans.
Buyanga already has a massive range of cars, including a Rolls Royce, Lamborghinis, an Aston Martin DB9, Bugatti and others.
He once remarked to a journalist when asked the number of cars he owned.
“I don’t know, they are many. I don’t count cars I have,” he said.
CAJ News Africa provides an insight into the divisive figure:
In 1998, at the tender age of 18, Buyanga commenced his entrepreneurial career by registering “Summit Trading”, a commodities company based in the United Kingdom (UK).
The company traded in agricultural commodities primarily sugar. In just over a year, he founded “Ferco Trading Ltd”, an import and export company which would expose him to the global business arena.
“Ferco Trading Ltd” exported a number of commodities such as Ribena juice, parboiled rice, vehicle spares and television sets to West Africa, namely Nigeria and Liberia.
Buyanga continued to display characteristics of a serial entrepreneur as he relentlessly embarked on other business ventures in the UK.
Between the years 2000 and 2004, he owned and was operating a pound shop in Stratford and opened up a garage based in Ilford both in the UK. Over and above this, he operated a financial advisory and mortgaging firm based in Cavendish Street, in London.
The wealthiest individual in Zimbabwe?
Buyanga is one of the wealthy people in the impoverished Southern African nation.
In January this year, he made a bold offer to the government of Zimbabwe-$69 million (R1 billion) to help jump-start the country’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF).
The businessman is also the founder of African Medallion Group (AMG), which is incorporated in South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Mauritius. The company also holds a permit to mineral manufacturing permit in Lesotho and Zambia.
In May, AMG hit the R3,5 billion mark on its gold reserves.
The firm expanded his tentacles in South Africa after taking control of Cape Town-based Pagliari Group, a subsidiary of Rand Refinery in an R100 million deal.
In Zimbabwe, his money-lending business had problems with government and defaulting clients. Buyanga’s borrowers secured their loans with their homes. Every now and again, defaulters refused to give up their houses, leading to litigation and growing disgruntlement.
Buyanga has over 500 properties in Zimbabwe and South Africa, according to Forbes Africa. His portfolio includes a luxury penthouse at Michelangelo Towers in Sandton.
He has a controversial history, including fighting Interpol after the international police outfit issued him with a so-called ‘red notice’ in February 2012. Together with his Israeli lawyer, Nick Kaufman, Buyanga fought to clear his name and can now travel internationally for business.
Matters of faith and philanthropy
Buyanga has always been religious and has never hidden his faith, which can be witnessed on his social media accounts.
Those who know him say in 2003, Buyanga, who was an active member of the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa (ZAOGA) Forward in Faith Ministries was elected as a Deacon by the head of the church, Archbishop Ezekiel Guti.
He spearheaded various mission funds, assisting in raising over 500 000 for the non-profit organisation.
A year later, he attended Pocim College of Leadership (UK), studying Theology. After completion, he later visited the Holy Land – Israel.
Buyanga also mentors young entrepreneurs in Africa through the Pan African Business Forum.
– CAJ News