COSLEG Private Limited
Key people
Robert Mugabe Vitalis Zvinavashe , Sibusiso Moyo , Emmerson Mnangagwa ,Perrance Shiri ,Sydney Sekeramai
ProductsDiamonds , Timber
OwnerZimbabwe Defence Forces and Democratic Republic of Congo

COSLEG Private Limited is a joint venture company formed by a Democratic Republic of Congo-based entity Congo Comiex and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces's company Operation Sovereign Legitimacy (OSLEG). COSLEG was established for the purpose of pursuing business opportunities in timber and minerals found in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Katanga Province.

COSLEG formed SOCEBO a subsidiary company that was to oversee a timber deal between Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.[1]

In February of 2002 Global witness reported that Sibusiso Moyo was the Director of COSLEG.[2]

A 2002 United Nations report implicated COSLEG in the illegal plunder of DR Congo natural resources.[3]

The United Nations report also further alleged that although troops of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces had been a major guarantor of the security of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo against regional rivals, its senior officers through COSLEG had enriched themselves from the The Democratic Republic of Congo's mineral assets under the pretext of arrangements set up to repay Zimbabwe for military services.[3]

See also - Plundering of DR Congo natural resources: Final report of the Panel of Experts (S/2002/1146) [4]


Operation Sovereign Legitimacy (OSLEG)

It was reported that from the beginning of Zimbabwe’s involvement in the war in DRC the ZDF had provided advisors to Laurent Kabila to help him overthrow Mobutu Seseseko who was the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as part of Robert Mugabe’s general support, which also included the provision of US$ 5 million to Kabila. This investment resulted in some quick returns the Zimbabwe Defence Industries’ General Manager, Col. Dube, secured a $53 million deal to supply food, uniforms, boots and ammunition to Kabila. The contract to transport these goods went to Zvinavashe Transport, a trucking company owned by Vitalis Zvinavashe the head of the army. Two more deals followed a special request, in 1998, by Mugabe to Laurent Kabila:[1]

  • Congo-Duka: The formation of Congo-Duka, was a joint venture between Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) and its Congolese equivalent, General Strategic Reserves. It was intended that this company would supply consumer goods in DRC. ZDI received government loan guarantees totalling Z$1.65 billion (US$ 33.6 m). It was reported that the company failed to excite Zimbabwean businesses due to government manipulation of payment procedures which converted US dollars to a lower managed exchange rate against the Zimbabwean dollar. Consequently, Congo-Duka became bankrupt.
  • Gecamines: It was reported that Billy Rautenbach a business tycoon with ties to ZANU-PF was appointed as the head of Gecamines, the DRC state-owned cobalt mining company. It was alleged that this deal was forged at a meeting in Kabila’s office at which Rautenbach, Mnangagwa and another man purported to be representing Mugabe represented the Zimbabwean side. Although this operation produced around US$ 6 million worth of cobalt monthly it is believed that little money was received by the Zimbabwean government, leading to speculation that the money was syphoned off by senior Zimbabwean officials. In 1999 Rautenbach was dismissed as the head of Gecamines by the Congolese. At the same time the South African authorities were closing in on Rautenbach for tax reasons, which made his exports from Durban difficult, therefore compromising the viability of Gecamines’ organisation.[1]

Kabila's failure to keep his part of the bargain

In mid-1999 Mugabe ordered over 11 000 troops, a third of the ZDF’s strength, to deploy in DRC. Laurent Kabila pledged to pay for this support in US dollars but was unable to honour this pledge. Instead, he offered mining, agricultural and forestry concessions. Following the failure of their previous investments, the Zimbabwean government saw the opportunity to recoup their losses. The ZDF were already deployed in the resource-rich Kasai Oriental and Katanga Provinces and were ideally placed to guard these resources for their own benefit.[1]

Congo-Duka replaced by OSLEG

In late 1999 Congo-Duka was replaced by OSLEG (Pvt.) Ltd. This company was regarded as the commercial arm of the ZDF and was the key to their business interests in the DRC, including timber. Its directors were listed as Lt. Gen. Vitalis Zvinavashe, Job Whabira, who was the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Onesimo Moyo, who was the Director of the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and Isiah Ruzengwe, who was the General Manager of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation. OSLEG was represented in DRC by Vitalis Zvinavashe’ brother, Col. Francis Zvinavashe, retired Major-Gen. Dauramanzi and Brigadier John Moyo.[1]


Osleg, the Zimbabwean military-controlled company, and a Kinshasa-based firm called Comiex Congo formed COSLEG after Zimbabwe intervened in the Democratic Republic of Congo war to assist Laurent Kabila to fight regional rivals who had invaded the DRC.[5]COSLEG replaced Congo-Duka.

To match their military strength with business expertise OSLEG entered into a joint venture with Comiex-Congo, a Kinshasa based company whose main shareholder was Laurent Kabila. The joint venture was known as COSLEG (Pvt.) Ltd. According to the company’s partnership agreement OSLEG had the resources to protect and defend, support logistically, and assist generally in the development of commercial ventures to explore, research, exploit and market the mineral, timber, and other resources held by the state of the Democratic Republic of Congo.[1]


On 6th January 2000 COSLEG, established a subsidiary called SOCEBO (Société congolaise d’exploitation du bois) to exploit four forest concessions in the DRC. The company was based at No.195 D Avenue Colonel Ebeya – Kinshasa, Gombe, DRC.[1]

Socebo was alleged to be a Zanu-PF businesses under the control Emmerson Mnangagwa who was the Speaker of Parliament and the party's administration boss.

According to a report by the Global Witness, the deal was brokered by the late Kabila as compensation to the Zimbabwean government for its massive losses in money and human lives in the DRC war, dubbed "Africa's First World War", that sucked in at least seven southern and East African countries. COSLEG held 98.8% of the shares in SOCEBO, with the remaining 1.2% were held by:

  • Mawapanga Mwana Nanga – Minister of Finance under Laurent Kabila, appointed by Joseph Kabila as Minister of Fisheries and Livestock.
  • Abdoulaye Yerodia Ndombasi – Minister of Foreign Affairs under Laurent Kabila.
  • Godefroid Tchamlesso – Minister of Defence under both Laurent and Joseph Kabila.
  • Charles Dauramanzi – Global Witness does not know if this person is the same as Major-General Dauramanzi, a director of OSLEG.
  • Francis Zvinavashe – Brother of Vitalis Zvinavashe – commander of the Zimbabwean army.
  • Colin Phiri – Projects Coordinator of the Zimbabwe Forestry Commission.

A further joint venture, SAB-Congo, was established between SOCEBO and Western Hemisphere Capital Management (WHCM), a United Kingdom Company with an office in Harare, to develop the Katanga concession.[1]

WHCM owned 60% of the shares in the new venture and provided capital and equipment. SOCEBO owned 35% of the shares with the remaining 5% being held by the Congolese state-run Institut National pour l’Etude et la Recherche Agronomique (INERA). It was anticipated that the first timber sales would commence in November 2001, and in late 2001 the UN Expert Panel received information that the Zimbabwean military was engaged in intensive logging operations in this concession, with SABCongo.[1]

Zimbabwean authorities denying the existence of the SOCEBO deal

Before the release of the first edition of the global witness report in August 2001, it was alleged that the Zimbabwean authorities did their best to conceal the existence of the SOCEBO deal.[1]

The Timber deal

It was alleged that the timber deal was spearheaded by Mnangagwa under the SOCEBO contract. The deal gave OSLEG access to 33 million hectares of land in the DRC, the land which OSLEG acquired was estimated to be 1.5 times the size of the United Kingdom.

It was also alleged that In 1998, Mnangagwa because of his ZANU-PF loyalty and military experience, was sent by Robert Mugabe to the DRC to investigate the human and material losses suffered by the ZDF. Apparently, at around this time, the leadership in the Defence Ministry began to report directly to him, rather than to Moven Mahachi, who was the Minister of Defence. In early 1999 it was reported that Mugabe ordered Mnangagwa to take over responsibility for the ZDF in the DRC, effectively usurping Mahachi. Mnangagwa is believed to have used this opportunity to forge close commercial links with Laurent Kabila, in conjunction with ZDF allies and friends, in particular, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, who was the head of the Zimbabwe National Army.[1]

It was also alleged that during this period Mnangagwa developed a regional strategy to gain control over the region’s rich natural resources and to take over and expand the infrastructure necessary to transport and market the end product. It was reported that this resulted in several major areas of interest: Oryx Diamonds, a joint venture between the ZDF, the late Laurent Kabila and various business interests; the Limpopo Bridge Project, the Beitbridge Railway and the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe. The timber deal was another major element of this portfolio. [1]

The elite network

Global Witness reported that prominent Zimbabwean members of the network included Brigadier General Sibusiso Busi Moyo, who was Director-General of COSLEG. Brigadier Moyo advised both Tremalt and Oryx Natural Resources, which represented covert Zimbabwean military financial interests in negotiations with State mining companies of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Air Commodore Mike Tichafa Karakadzai who was the Deputy Secretary of COSLEG, directing policy and procurement. He played a key role in arranging the Tremalt cobalt and copper deal. Colonel Simpson Sikhulile Nyathi was Director of defence policy for COSLEG. The then Minister of Defence and former Security Minister, Sydney Sekeramayi, coordinated with the military leadership and was alleged to be a shareholder in COSLEG. The United Nations Panel claimed to have a copy of a letter from Sekeramayi thanking the Chief Executive of Oryx Natural Resources, Thamer Bin Said Ahmed Al-Shanfari, for his material and moral support during the parliamentary elections of 2000. [1]


Global witness full report

United Nations full Report


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Global Witness Report , retrieved: 26 Oct 2018
  2. DRC deals collapse, The Zimbabwe Independent, published: 24 Jul 2012, retrieved: 26 Oct 2018
  3. 3.0 3.1 Plundering of DR Congo natural resources: Final report of the Panel of Experts (S/2002/1146) - Burundi, ReliefWeb, retrieved: 26 Oct 2018
  4. [1], UN Security Council, Published: 16 October 2002, Retrieved: August 2019
  5. Zimbabwe - Zanu PF, Kabila in Secret US$300m Deal, retrieved: 26 Oct 2018