THE much-anticipated parliamentary inquiry into the chaos that continues to dog Zimbabwe’s diamond sector was postponed after most MPs, who are members of the Committee on Mines and Energy, requested time to defend their constituencies as general elections beckon.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Chaired by independent MP Temba Mliswa, the committee has been trying to find answers to former President Robert Mugabe’s claim that as much as $15 billion in diamond revenues might have been spirited out of the country.
The committee is also probing the governance structure of the companies that were operating in the Chiadzwa diamond fields, including the involvement of the police, Central Intelligence Organisation and military.
However, with most political parties now preparing for internal selection process, Mliswa was forced to move the hearing.
“Our colleagues (MPs) notified us that they are unable to come to the meeting because they have to fight for their constituencies. We have, therefore, decided to move the hearings to April 19. We would have liked to have this done today, but these are circumstances beyond our control and understandably so. We will make sure that next time we come this is concluded,” the Norton MP told those who had attended as well as journalists yesterday.
“Most of the things are done, but we have to do these things under oath. It’s procedural. The Vice-President [Kembo Mohadi] was unable to be here because he is out of the country and the director-general of the Central Intelligence Organisation [Isaac] Moyo is also not here. On April 19, we will have Anjin, Mr (Martin) Rushwaya [Defence secretary], the [Police] Border Control Unit. We have also summoned Sakunda Holdings, permanent secretaries and all accounting officers involved, not because we have anything personal,”
Former Energy ministers Elton Mangoma, Dzikamai Mavhaire and Samuel Undenge are also expected to appear before the committee, while former Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has gone underground, with the police claiming they are unable to locate him.
Other former Cabinet ministers set to appear before Mliswa’s committee include Walter Chidakwa [Mines] and Ignatius Chombo [Home Affairs].
Current Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu, who was involved in a public altercation with Mliswa, was week “excused” from the hearing.
Mpofu refused to answer Mliswa’s questions, leading to the verbal altercation during a hearing last month.
Mugabe, according to Mliswa, will, at some point, also appear before the committee. The former Zanu PF leader recently claimed the $15 billion figure was given to him by officials, but not confirmed during what had become a routine birthday interview in February 2016.
“It was just a figure I was given by some officials, that figure had been circulating around, but really it was not confirmed, it was just a story and there was that figure around,” Mugabe reportedly told our sister paper the Zimbabwe Independent last month.
Chihuri’s successor Godwin Matanga and other top police officials have claimed their former boss owned the 20% stake in Gye Nyame diamond mining company without the knowledge of the force.