Marange cash: Saviour dodges Parly probe

via Marange cash: Saviour dodges Parly probe 15/05/2014 NewZimbabwe

FORMER Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere allegedly chickened out of a Parliamentary probe on the Marange community share ownership trust, despite earlier public declarations that he was more than keen to appear before the legislative committee and clear his name.

Kasukuwere, accused of misleading President Robert Mugabe over the amount of money diamond companies were supposed to donate to the trust, did not show up for the inquiry which was scheduled for Thursday.

He was expected to explain what transpired during the setting up of the Marange scheme after being maligned by both his successor and the diamond mining companies.

The Mount Darwin South lawmaker was exposed for allegedly “doctoring letters” and lying to Mugabe by both diamond miners and his successor, Francis Nhema.

As the saga unfolded, the Migdale Holdings founder and ex-spy, reportedly hurled insults and threats at Zanu PF MP, Justice Wadyajena, who chairs the committee.

Wadyajena has stepped on Kasukuwere’s toes, with the environment minister feeling uneasy over the rookie MP’s apparent attempts to expose his shortcomings when he was in charge of the empowerment ministry.

It was during Wadyajena-chaired committee meetings that Kasukuwere’s “lies” around the controversial Marange-Zimunya share ownership debacle were exposed.

Miffed by the young MP’s apparent attempts to drag his name through the mire, Kasukuwere allegedly threatened Wadyajena with unspecified action promising to “destroy him politically, economically and socially”.

Mining firms in March revealed that they agreed with Kasukuwere to contribute $1.5 million each, but Kasukuwere claimed that they agreed to contribute $10 million each towards the trust.

Led by Marange Resources, a wholly government owned miner, the diamond firms claimed that they had agreed with government to pay $1.5 million each at a time Kasukuwere had told Mugabe that each company was to contribute $10 million each towards the community share ownership trust.

Companies such as Anjin claimed that Kasukuwere even told them that they could pay the $1.5 million within five years.

In a letter summoning him to the committee, Kasukuwere was supposed to appraise the committee and “bring any documentation and agreements regarding pledges made to the Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust”.

Before the summons, Kasukuwere had told the national assembly that he was waiting for his day before the committee to explain his case as he refused to discuss the issues in the full house.

He was also quoted by state media saying “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.”

But on Thursday, some committee members were left wondering whether the minister was afraid of something or he was “just grandstanding when he suggested that he was ready to face the committee. “It shows a lot about his character,” a community member said.

“It is contempt and a sign that he does not respect us as lawmakers. He has something to hide which, as a committee, we are worried about.

“We don’t do this job for personal gains or interests but for those we represent. He is now showing us that he has a foolish bravado which he cannot stand when challenged,” another MP added.

Wadyajena said he did not know why Kasukuwere did not attend the hearing, refereeing further questions to the Speaker who could not be reached for comment.

Kasukwuere however told The Source online news agency that he was never summoned to appear before the committee.

“That’s not true, I didn’t get communication; they didn’t call me. I am not going to be part of that game,” he said before referring more questions to Wadyajena and Mudenda.


See Bill Watch Parliamentary Committees 26/2014 of 12 May