Source: Parly grilling leaves ministry official red-faced – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 8, 2016
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Gudyanga had accompanied Mines minister Walter Chidakwa and his deputy, Fred Moyo to respond to issues of alleged corruption and externalisation of funds.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines alleged that the Mines ministry contracted a foreign company, First Element, to undertake evaluation of diamonds, and, as a result, sidelined local companies.
Committee chairperson, Daniel Shumba (Zanu PF) said First Element was contracted without following procurement procedures and indigenisation regulations, resulting in local evaluators being sidelined and not being paid for work they had done for the ministry.
“The correct position is that the consolidated company, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), dismissed evaluators that were there, and these things were happening behind the minister’s back, and local evaluators have not been paid because the ZCDC board has not approved their payments,” he said.
“You are paying evaluators from Botswana and they employ foreigners and you have gone to hire a private company, which you pay monthly, and the committee is concerned that there is some money going into the pockets of some officials in the ministry.”
Chidakwa professed ignorance over the issue, saying it was difficult for him to know all contracts entered into by the ZCDC board.
The committee then asked Gudyanga to explain and he, instead, suggested Shumba should recuse himself from chairing the committee, as he was an interested party in that he was a director of one of the local evaluation companies.
This angered Shumba, who said he used to be a director of the company in 2012 and was now a farmer.
The Masvingo Urban MP said he had declared all his assets, adding that was not an excuse for Gudyanga to fail to answer questions asked by a Parliamentary committee.
Zvishavane Ngezi MP John Holder (Zanu PF) said Gudyanga would be charged with contempt of Parliament if he continued undermining the committee.
Gudyanga replied: “There is no company that is evaluating. The situation is that some evaluators we used have been linked to leakages and management found it appropriate to remove them. I do not know about the company that you are referring to that is paid a commission, and some of it (commission) comes to me – I am not aware.”
The committee then asked Gudyanga to bring invoices of payments to the individuals, information on how they were recruited and processes taken to fire those involved in leakages.
The committee also alleged that companies offering security services to ZCDC were foreign.
Chidakwa was then asked to explain issues surrounding MMCZ being ordered by the ministry to pay an Israeli-owned South African company through agricultural company, Pedstock’s account for the training of the Zimbabwe Republic Police Border Control Unit.
The minister was not aware of the transactions, saying he was also surprised to read about the issue in newspapers.
Asked to explain to the committee whether Pedstock was not a conduit for externalising money to South Africa, Gudyanga became angry, saying all that he did was to bust syndicates that were externalising funds.
“There is so much smuggling and leakages and as a ministry we are trying to stop that, but you (committee) turn us into villains,” Gudyanga said.
MPs were not impressed by his comment and he was given another warning for undermining Parliament’s authority.
Asked why Pedstock was the same company that installed irrigation equipment at his farm, and why the MMCZ payment to Pedstock coincided with the installation, Gudyanga said there was no link between the two.
He claimed to have only paid a deposit to Pedstock and not the full amount.
However, when Pedstock appeared before the committee, they gave contradictory evidence that the $235 000 bill for the irrigation equipment was all paid up. MPs said this was a possible case of giving false oral evidence before Parliament either by Gudyanga or Pedstock.
Gudyanga, who claimed the payments made to Pedstock by MMCZ were later transferred by Pedstock to him, might also face contempt of court charges with reports that he allegedly gave clearance to the messenger of court and mobilised suppliers to raid some of the companies that went to court against the consolidation.
There is currently a process of evicting the previous miners and forcefully commencing mining in their claims in violation of a standing court order.