MDC branches abroad to close – Bennet
LONDON – The British office of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change has been suspended amid allegations of financial irregularities in overseas branches.
A sum of £57,000 was said to have gone missing from the British branch, which is second only to the South African office of the party in importance.
The MDC, which is in an inclusive government with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, relies on the support of Zimbabweans who have left the country.
Roy Bennett, the MDC’s treasurer-general, said the UK branch had been suspended in the wake of what he described as a problem the party faced "everywhere".
Although a formal instruction had not yet been given, all other overseas branches would be disbanded, as they had rogue elements, he alleged.
"They are bleeding us," he told the Independent newspaper. "I would hate to know the amount of money that has been raised by Zimbabweans in exile purporting to represent the MDC.
They have used the MDC name and pocketed the money." The UK and Ireland provincial executive has been suspended pending an investigation into what the MDC finance minister, Tendai Biti, described as "shocking" financial irregularities.
But British-based officials claimed that any financial irregularities under its supervision were not the result of corruption.
"It is more to do with the way the money was remitted to Harare," Jeff Sango, chairman of the MDC in south-east England, told the newspaper.
"The people who were supposed to make the investigation should come here and do that investigation. There is no evidence right now. It is only an allegation." The MDC has about 800 active members in Britain. About 70 per cent of funds are sent back to Zimbabwe with the rest used to cover administration costs.
But the MDC in Harare said the British branch failed to submit adequate financial reports. The Telegraph (UK)