via What a shameless charade! – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 30, 2014
YESTERDAY, we carried a story with the headline $2,9 billion lost through illicit outflows.
According to African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (Afrodad) — a non-governmental organisation — government lost $2,9 billion in potential revenue between 2009 and 2013 through illicit financial flows (IFFs) in natural resources that were spirited out of the country by multinational companies and other investors.
The lost revenue is divided as follows: Mining, $2,853 billion; wildlife (skins and ivory), $15 million; fisheries, $28 million; and timber, $17,3 million.
“The IFFs were more apparent in mining, forestry and wildlife related safari activities,” says Afrodad.
It does not take rocket science to see that all these sectors are now dominated by the ruling elite — both military and civilian, including bureaucrats and company executives — and that it will be most difficult — if not impossible — to rectify the situation because these people have proved to be untouchable in whatever they do. And that “multinational companies and other investors”cannot do this on their own, but as fronts for the ruling elite. It can only mean that someone very high up is facilitating or — most likely and accurately — initiating this free passage.
To boot it all, they have roped in as their point persons on the ground carefully chosen, recycled and/or compromised bureaucrats and executives who are more concerned with maintaining their positions by spending money on showy projects that boost the image and give political image of their political bosses than tackle urgent problems like repair of least safe roads.
It becomes a vicious circle with such a self-perpetuating elite.
ZimAsset, no matter how well-conceived and achievable, will play second fiddle to these vested interests.
People may chorus as much as they want and as loudly as they can the ZimAsset song, but nothing much will come out of it as long the country is raped of its resources by the shameless powerful elite.
And the sanctions mantra won’t wash. Instead of building a firm agro-industrial foundation for the return of the Zimbabwe dollar with all this money, it’s a free-for-all as they loot left, right and centre.
What Afrodad has pointed out is essentially a grand theft, money-laundering and tax evasion scam. It’s time to quantify as to what is more costly and damaging to the nation between sanctions and looting.
There have been sensible, strong, loud and clear calls for the establishment of a diamond wealth fund to benefit the whole nation, but corrupt, greedy politicians are not keen on this sharing of the cake from a national resource.
This is confirmed by Afrodad’s findings that “in the diamond sector, according to the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme monitor, Zimbabwe sold at least $30 million worth of diamonds from Marange, which Treasury and Zimra had no record or knowledge of”.
Lip service continues to be paid to tackling corruption because there have been no prosecutions, convictions and imprisonments despite the glaring evidence of shocking abuse of office by top politicians, government officials and executives in the public sector as well as the private sector.
All we hear are hypocritical mouthings to deceive and distract the nation that something is being done when absolutely nothing is being done. People can now see through all this absurd pretense, farce, travesty and false display for what it is.
All we can say is: “A ‘looter’ continua!”, as the charade continues.