via Kasukuwere demands his day in Parly 10/03/2014 NewZimbabwe
SAVIOUR Kasukuwere, the former trailblazing indigenisation minister, has demanded to appear before Parliament after companies mining diamonds at Marange suggested he may have misled President Robert Mugabe over donations to a local community trust.
It has since emerged that little of the promised $50 million has been handed over to the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust despite Mugabe and Kasukuwere posing before the media with a large dummy cheque apparently confirming the deal.
Worse still for Kasukuwere, heads of all seven mining firms operating in the diamond rich area said Mugabe was misled by his ministers to believe they would each donate $10 million to the trust.
The executives professed ignorance over arrangement when they recently appeared before Parliamentary portfolio committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.
Clearly stung by the revelations, Kasukuwere, now Environment, Water and Climate Minister, said he should also be called to give evidence before the committee.
“The work that Parliament is carrying out with regards to Marange Community Trust is a very welcome development which allows the nation to exactly see the level of dishonesty that is being displayed by the mining entities, which is being disrespectful,” he said.
“We implore Parliament to ensure that all relevant players in this matter are given the opportunity to put the record straight. I await the opportunity to go to Parliament to put the facts as they are. In the final analysis, what is important is that the commitment to that community must be met.”
Appearing before the committee last week, Mbada Diamonds chairperson, Robert Mhlanga said his company was never involved in the set-up of the Marange-Zimunya community share ownership scheme and never pledged to donate money to the scheme.
“I was never approached by anyone, and let me put this correct, we never made any pledge to the trust but contributed to the trust out of our own understanding about the need to empower the community,” he said.
Anjin Investments board member, Munyaradzi Machacha, a Zanu PF functionary, added: “I personally told Hon Kasukuwere that we had no money to contribute to the trusts at that time and he said we could fulfil it even after five years.
“This is the first time that I hear about that figure, we agreed at a meeting held by all mining firms to contribute a total figure of $10 million collectively with us agreeing to give $1.5 which the minister, Cde Kasukuwere said we could pay over five years. This $10 million thing is new to me.”
Mpofu told the Herald newspaper: “I am not aware of that Trust. When it was launched, I was not in attendance. It is better that you ask those who attended the launch.”
“For anybody to try and suggest they were not aware of the legal provisions contained in our laws and the instruments which were gazetted is really, really deceitful,” he told the Herald.
“In all the ceremonies that were held, all the ministries – Mines and Mining Development, Local Government and the President’s Office – were all involved in setting up these community trusts.
“For one to say they did not hear or they didn’t know about it is just displaying dishonesty of the highest order. You cannot display dishonesty to this level and the communities of Marange deserve what is due to them. They (the mining companies) must be responsible and show respect.”
Regarding the dummy cheque he brandished with Mugabe, the minister said: “Kasukuwere does not work in a bank to come up with a dummy cheque.
“How do I know the signatures of the bank officials? Let’s be responsible and ensure that the communities are benefiting from their resources – that is the bottom line.”
“A community share trust is not formed without sufficient consultation having taken place at official level. I am just putting the record straight, what was said in Parliament was devoid of the truth.”