via Govt probes community Share Ownership trusts | The Herald January 23, 2014
Government is investigating the country’s 59 Community Share Ownership Trusts following allegations of abuse of funds and failure by some companies to honour pledges they made.
The trusts were launched by President Mugabe in 2012 and were expected to transform communities in which mining companies operate. Companies pledged to fund the Marange Zimunya Share Ownership Trust to the tune of US$50 million in 2012, but reports say only US$400 000 has been paid to date. In some cases, chiefs and powerful local politicians are accused of abusing the trust funds.
In an interview on Tuesday, Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Cde Francis Nhema said Government was revisiting the initial agreements to establish what is going on.
“We are in the process of auditing these trusts to see what was agreed upon and establish reasons why some companies are not complying. We want to see if there were compliance deadlines and the structure of the agreements,” he said.
On allegations that influential people were abusing trust funds, Minister Nhema said: “It will only be fair for us to make a comment after completion of this process. There are some grey areas and it is premature to make a comment now.”
Mining companies pledged to make contributions amounting to billions of dollars to fund the 59 trusts.
Projects in some areas failed to take off at all after mining houses allegedly reneged on their promises. Notable progress was registered by the Tongogara Community Ownership Scheme in Shurugwi.
With the US$10 million extended to it by companies such as Unki Mine, the Tongogara Trust built Msasa Primary School and a mortuary at Zvamavande Clinic, drilled more than 200 boreholes and reconstructed Chirume Dam among other developments.
The trust also bought a grader that is currently refurbishing roads in Shurugwi.