Zim businessman Frank Buyanga adds $2.3m Bugatti to his car collection
Businessman Frank Buyanga has added a second-hand car to his luxury fleet.
But the vehicle that arrived in Harare last week on a KLM cargo plane is far from a poor man's runabout: it is one of only four models of the Bugatti Veyron Fbg par Hermès. When it was unveiled in 2008 it sold for $2.3m.
Buyanga's fleet already includes a Rolls-Royce Wraith, Bentley Bentayga V8, Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, Maserati GranTurismo GT, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, two Lamborghinis, an Aston Martin DB9, Bentley Continental, BMW M5, Mercedes G-Class and several SUVs.
The 38-year-old businessman, who lives in a penthouse at the Michelangelo Towers in Sandton, Johannesburg, has added a number plate to the sports car saying simply "F".
The Bugatti is thought to be one of only two Veyrons in Southern Africa. The other, a Bugatti Veyron Mansory Vivere Diamond Edition, was delivered in August and is in SA. Its owner is Zunaid Moti, a mining magnate who has a close relationship with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Moti was arrested in Germany in August and faces extradition to Russia for allegedly swindling a businessman out of R6.6m.
After agreeing to an interview about the Veyron, Buyanga changed his mind on Friday. "It will appear as if I am showing off," he said.
Born in England, Buyanga returned to Zimbabwe in August after a six-year absence during which he faced arrest because Harare had asked Interpol to issue him with a red notice.
A source who knows Buyanga well described him as media-shy and a "bit of an enigma".
"He's quite in touch with his Christian faith but a typical capitalist, and a lot of his conversations are about profit and money," said the source.
Reputed to be one of the biggest property owners in Sandown, an affluent suburb of Sandton, Buyanga rose to prominence in Zimbabwe in 2008 when he established a micro-finance company, Hamilton Finance.
Hamilton Property quickly followed, and he claimed to have received a $25m "gift" from British tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten to launch the business.
Hamilton Finance borrowers who failed to repay their loans were forced to forfeit properties they had offered as surety, and these became the property of Hamilton Finance.
One of Buyanga's debtors was former state security minister Nicholas Goche, who had borrowed heavily but was unable to pay.
He labelled Buyanga "a loan shark", and the young businessman was forced out of Zimbabwe soon afterwards. Scores of Hamilton Finance debtors took Goche's cue and it appeared as if the end was nigh for Buyanga.
But he returned to his high-rolling lifestyle in SA and was photographed with then president Jacob Zuma and Equatorial Guinea leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
Journalist Lawrence Moyo said Buyanga had quickly realised that politics and business mix. "Sometimes it can be a toxic mix, like how he left Zimbabwe, but more often than not it works like magic," he said.
"By all accounts he is back in the good graces of Zimbabwe's rulers, which in the African context is great for any enterprise."
Earlier this year, Buyanga's African Medallion Group acquired the Cape Mint, which produces precious metal medallions, numismatic coins, medals and cufflinks. He also acquired the Pagliari Group of jewellers.
His portfolio covers construction, mining, finance and property in several African countries, including SA, Zambia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.