Minister quizzed over Marange-Zimunya trust

via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Minister quizzed over Marange-Zimunya trust 10 April 2014

The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in Manicaland Province, Chris Mushohwe, has fingered political enemies for his defeat in the 2008 Parliamentary elections and expressed ignorance over a letter he wrote to a diamond mining company in the province directing them to deposit community share ownership pledges in a named account.

Mushohwe was giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.

He said he became a victim of political scheming in 2008 when he defended the diamonds being mined in Manicaland as a national resource and not for the locals only.

Asked by the committee chairperson, Justice Mayor Wadyajena about a letter which he allegedly wrote to Anjin, a diamond mining company operating in the area, Mushohwe said he did not know of such a letter.

When the letter bearing Mushohwe’s signature was produced and its contents read out, he admitted that although he wrote it, he had forgotten.

The issue of diamond mining companies not honouring their pledges to community trusts has been in the public domain.

When the Marange-Zimnunya Community Share Ownership Trust was launched by President Robert Mugabe in July 2012, companies mining in the area pledged to contribute to the fund for the benefit of local communities.

The companies have not yet honoured their pledges.

In his presentation, Mushohwe also revealed that after the launch, the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) CEO, Mr Wilson Gwatiringa sought to extract money from companies which attended the Presidential launch of the Marange-Zimunya trust.

Mushohwe said it took his intervention through the NIEEB chairman, Retired General Mike Nyambuya to stop the demands where the board wanted US$50 000 from each mining company on the basis of having sponsored the Presidential launch.