‘Community share trusts probe underway’

via ‘Community share trusts probe underway’ – DailyNews Live  26 AUGUST 2014 by Llyod Mbiba

HARARE – Francis Nhema, the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister, has said the probe of Zimbabwe’s 61 community share ownership trusts is still ongoing.

In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Nhema said his ministry was seized with the audit of the trusts.

“The audits are still going on,” Nhema said.

“We are doing them one by one because we want them to be thorough. We initiated the investigations early this year and we are still in the process of carrying out investigations.”

The minister could not tell when the audit would end.

“It’s a long, long process,” he said. “We are talking about 61 community share ownership schemes and as I said, we are auditing them one by one.

“We want to do a thorough job, so I cannot give you a time frame.”

Asked to reveal what the investigations had unearthed so far, the minister said: “I don’t want to pre-empt the investigations. We will talk when we have completed them.”

Nhema initiated investigations into the 61 community share ownership trusts in January, following allegations of abuse of funds and failure by some companies to honour pledges they

The audit comes as former Indigenisation minister Savior Kasukuwere is alleged to have lied to President Robert Mugabe that five mining firms doing business in the Chiadzwa diamond
fields in Manicaland had each pledged $10 million to MZCSOT to empower the communities.

But in March, Mbada, Anjin, Diamond Mining Corporation, Jinan and Marange Resources, denied penning agreements obligating them to pay a combined $50 million to the ZMCSOT, and that
the vaunted deals were nothing more than “gentlemen’s agreements”.

Despite Kasukuwere producing letters which were written to and by the mining companies, his Indigenisation successor Nhema drilled holes into his story when he appeared before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Indigenisation last month and told them that: “I have even asked officials whether the letters are there.

“The problem is that there is no reference, no date stamp to authenticate the letters. I have checked with many files, I don’t know if they are there.”

These contradictions, and the fact that Mugabe presented a dummy $50 million cheque to the trust, prompted Parliament to summon Kasukuwere.

But the attempts by the committee, chaired by Gokwe Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena, to get Kasukuwere to explain the confusion were blocked by the clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma, who argued that the august House could not interrogate a former minister on issues that were no-longer under his ambit.

It is under those circumstances that Nhema ordered a fresh probe.

Nhema said the implementation of the national youth policy is underway, but said he was not impressed by the slow progress.

“It is okay but the process is slow. I don’t have the figures off hand. But there is progress albeit slow,” Nhema said.

The youth policy’s key objectives are to empower youths to participate and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.

One of the policy targets is to ensure youths and women have a 25 percent quota in economic, indigenisation and empowerment initiatives across all key economic sectors.