via Diamond firms fool Mugabe February 14, 2014 by Veneranda Langa NewsDay
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe was apparently fooled last July by diamond-mining companies in Marange when he was made to present a dummy $1,5 million cheque to the Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust where only $400 000 was later deposited and at least $1,1 million is still missing.
This was revealed by Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust chairman chief Gilbert Marange when he appeared before the Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Portfolio Committee chaired by Zanu PF Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena.
It also emerged during the committee hearing that the trustees of the Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust misused $45 000 of the $400 000 that was deposited into the community trust account and failed to adequately account for it before the committee.
Chief Marange was accompanied by other members of the trust.
It was also disclosed that the only signatories to the fund were Chief Marange, secretary Shepherd Chinaka and chief Kiben Bvirindi Zimunya, but there was no treasurer.
“Five mining companies in Marange were supposed to put in $10 million each to make it $50 million into the community share ownership trust, but in July last year when it was launched by Mugabe, the President was made to present a cheque of $1,5 million of which it later emerged only $400 000 had been deposited in the bank — $200 000 by Mbada Diamonds and another $200 000 by Marange Resources,” Chief Marange said.
“We have not yet seen the balance of $1,1 million which was part of the amount in the cheque because the other three diamond-mining companies Anjin, Diamond Mining Company and Jinan did not put in a cent.”
Chief Zimunya added: “There has been a lot of political interference by Zanu PF bigwigs on disbursement of those funds. Unfortunately, I cannot say their names, but those bigwigs in Mutare want the $50 million to develop the whole province of Manicaland instead of Marange area only and are responsible for holding the release of more funds.”
The committee was not impressed by failure by the Marange team to explain what they had done so far with the $400 000 they had received as it emerged no single project had been implemented to date.
Wadyajena warned the team to be honest when giving oral evidence as they could be charged with contempt of Parliament if they falsified facts.
Of the $400 000 deposited, an amount of $28 079 had been gobbled up by the six trustees, leaving a balance of $371 921 in the Community Share Ownership Trust account. The trust account is said to have also accrued interest of $17 475 making the total amount received $417 000.
Chinaka was at pains to explain how the money was used, saying their expenditure amounted to $45 677 of which $345 was bank charges, $201 was stationery, $12 943 was for training, $14 404 was for travel and subsistence, $448 was for fuel and oils and $17 336 was for board fees.
MDC-T Dzivarasekwa MP Solomon Madzore said the figures were questionable and showed extravagance as there was a big variance where $17 336 was said to be for board fees yet calculations of their sitting allowances proved that they could not account for the other $6 000.
Chinaka said the board chairman got $280 while other members received $250 as sitting allowances. Wadyajena pledged to investigate the alleged Zanu PF bigwigs accused of interfering with the scheme.
Since their establishment three years ago, community share ownership schemes have torched a storm in most parts of the country amid allegations of financial abuse, resistance by some mining companies and interference by politicians.
Last October, the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board touched a hornet’s nest after it ordered the Zvishavane Community Share Ownership Trust to cede half of the $10 million given to it by Mimosa Mining Company to the Mberengwa Community Share Ownership Trust.
The proposal met fierce resistance from the Zvishavane community which argued that it was entitled to benefit from resources found in its locality.