via Kasukuwere dodges Marange questions 26/03/2014 NewZimbabwe
FORMER Indigenisation minister, Saviour Kasukuwere refused Wednesday to explain before the full Parliament what happened to the Marange-Zimunya community share ownership trust.
The trust is mired in controversy after its officials revealed that they have seen precious little of the $50 million companies mining diamonds in Marange were supposed to donate to the scheme to help develop surrounding areas.
Five of the companies operating in Marange were supposed to donate US$10 million each to the scheme.
President Robert Mugabe, accompanied by Kasukuwere, brandished a dummy $10 million cheque that apparently confirmed the pledges at the trust’s launch in July 2012.
But all five companies have since insisted they never pledged to donate $10 million to the scheme, adding they could never afford such amounts anyway.
Obert Mpofu, who was mines minister at the time, has also said he was not aware of the scheme and denied seeing a letter apparently sent to him by Kasukuwere reminding the companies to honour the pledges.
The revelations have left Kasukuwere facing allegations of misleading Mugabe and the whole country over the trust, raising further questions about his trailblazing tenure as empowerment minister.
Opposition MDC legislators quizzed him in Parliament Wednesday over the manner he ran the ministry during the coalition government but Kasukuwere said he would only explain himself before the relevant portfolio committee.
Said the MDC-T’s James Maridadi, MP for Mabvuku-Tafara: “Mining firms have told this Parliament, under oath, that you told them not to worry on contributing to the community share ownership schemes in Marange.
Kasukuwere would not be rushed however, and replied: “Honourable speaker madam, if the honourable member wants me to come and respond to his question, I am ready to appear before the responsible committee and I will explain.
Last month, the Parliament’s indigenisation committee chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya MP, Justice Wadyajena (Zanu PF), summoned all five companies after Trust officials said they could not implement any development projects because there was no money.
Marange Resources, Anjin and Diamond Mining Company told the committee that they only pledged $1.5 million, and not the US$10 million claimed by Kasukuwere.
Mbada Diamonds, the largest miner in Marange, said they were not involved at all in setting up the trust but donated $200,000 on their own volition to help develop the community.
Anjin boss, Munyaradzi Machacha told the committee that he even explained to Kasukuwere, on the day of launch of the scheme by Mugabe, that his company did not have funds to contribute to the trust but was told not to worry as they could fulfil the pledge over five years.