Parly quizzes Chinese diamond miner over political ties

via Parly quizzes Chinese diamond miner over political ties | The Source  March 17, 2014

Minister for Manicaland province Christopher Mushowe is at the centre of a Parliamentary investigation

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment says it will investigate board members of Chinese diamond mine, Jinan, after management failed to explain the relationship between one board member and a senior government official.

Members of the committee, chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator Justice Wadyajena (ZANU-PF), on Friday quizzed Jinan’s deputy managing director Zacheus Ncube about the relationship between board member Brian Mushowe and minister for Manicaland Province Christopher Mushowe, whom the committee allege are related.

Ncube identified four of the eight board members representing government in the 50/50 joint venture. These were Beauty Moyo (chairperson), Sharon Zhanero, Trust Khumalo and Brian Mushowe.

“All I know is that they are Zimbabweans and they have been board members elsewhere. To say specifically from which companies (they are from) I wouldn’t know. Some of them are business people,” Ncube said.

This infuriated Members of Parliament who demanded profiles of the board members, particularly Mushowe.

“With due respect Mr Ncube, you can’t tell me that you don’t even know the background of your bosses,” said Ticharwa Madondo, ZANU-PF MP for Gutu North.

Legislator for Bikita East, Kennedy Matimba (ZANU-PF) said: “He is very much aware of those people, he can’t sit in meetings without knowing the people he is sitting with.”

Ncube said the four were independent board members, referring further questions to those who hired them.

“Mr Ncube, honourable members are wondering if this Mushowe is the same person related to the minister for provincial affairs in Manicaland?” asked Wadyajena.

Ncube replied: “Honourable chair, as far as I am concerned, there are some questions I wouldn’t answer because I don’t know.”

Wadyajena said they had information that Ncube and the other two management members present knew about Mushowe’s relationship to the minister.

“If it is proven that you lied, the court will have you arrested for contempt of Parliament. There is reason to believe that you know something. Among the three of you (management that was present), you know Brian Mushowe is the son or brother of the minister,” he said.

“The committee will make thorough investigations to establish the truth.”

Ncube promised to supply information about board members on March 17.

Diamond mines operating in Marange diamond fields have come under the Parliamentary spotlight in recent weeks after it emerged they had raised less than 10 percent of the $50 million they allegedly pledged to the Marange/Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust.

Mushowe, the most senior government official in the Manicaland province housing the diamond fields, has furiously denied suggestions that he diverted some of the funds earmarked for the community trusts into a personal bank account.