via ‘Zanu PF politicians scuttling Marange projects’ – DailyNews Live by Mugove Tafirenyika and Ndakaziva Majaka 14 FEBRUARY 2014
Officials administering the Marange Zimunya Communinty Share Ownership Trust (MZCSOT) have accused Zanu PF politicians of interfering with their work and stalling progress in the implementation of community development projects.
Presenting oral evidence to a parliamentary portfolio committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment yesterday, MZCSOT chairperson Chief Gilbert Marange said the trust had only received $400 000 from two of the five diamond companies that had pledged to provide funding.
Marange said Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources had paid $200 000 each.
“Out of the five companies who pledged in front of the nation, only two have paid up,” Marange told the committee. “These two are Marange Resources and Mbada diamonds, although the money is supposed to be $50 million as pledged, we only have $400 000 in our account.”
Marange told legislators that as community leaders, they were under pressure from their expectant subjects after President Robert Mugabe presented them with a $1,5 million cheque when the trust was officially launched in 2012.
Chief Kiben Bvirindi Zimunya said the projects they intended to undertake such as drilling of boreholes were too small considering the high expectations of the communities.
“The problem we are facing is that Zanu PF politicians are interfering with our work,” said Zimunya.
“Each one of them wants to benefit from the trust even when their areas are not under the jurisdiction of Zimunya-Marange.
“They want the whole province covered and that could be the reason why we have problems in having the companies to honour their pledges”.
Legislators were, however, not happy that MZCSOT had failed to give detailed information revealing the state of its finances after giving two different financial statements.
The founding trustees were roasted as legislators sought clarification on how the $400 000 was used.
Chaired by youthful Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Wadyajena, the committee warned the board members against presenting false information to the house reminding them that they were speaking under oath.
MZCSOT had given the MPs a financial breakdown showing that they had spent $45 677 on stationery, fuel, travelling and subsistence allowances, training and bank charges out of the $400 000, leaving a balance of $371 921.
After receiving a grilling from the MPs who were in a no-nonsense mood, they later gave another one which showed that they had received $17 475 as investment interest from Agribank and CBZ which they bank with.
The legislators were also informed that the trustees were pocketing monthly salaries of up to $280 and another $100 each in sitting allowances plus fuel coupons.
“It looks like you are concealing some information from this committee, suggesting that you are not taking us seriously,” Wadyajena said.
“Chief Marange, you gave us two different financial breakdowns and we are not sure what this means. We requested a lot of information which you are failing to provide and we therefore suspect there is something going on here.”
Shephered Chinaka, the MZCSOT secretary, admitted they had not taken Parliament’s request seriously and that they did not have a constitution guiding their operations.