Chinamasa appeared before the Energy and Mines Committee of parliament to testify on the role he played in the subsequent specification of Mawere and his companies through the use of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Reconstruction Act.
Chinamasa said the companies were now the property of the government after it converted the loans that it extended to SMM into equity following his failure to repay them.
“SMMZ is now owned 76 percent by the Government of Zimbabwe and 24 percent by SMMH, a company also owned 100 percent by the Government of Zimbabwe through ownership of Bearer Warrants held by AMG Global Nominees on Government’s of Zimbabwe’s behalf,” said Chinamasa.
“Cancellation of the Specification Order on Mr Mawere has absolutely no effect on the Reconstruction of SMMZ. The assets and liabilities of SMMZ will be dealt with in terms of the Approved Scheme of Reconstruction for SMMZ and not in terms of the Prevention of Corruption Act though there may be need to enquire into the circumstances leading to the de-specification of Mr Mawere and find out as to whether this was as a result of the investigator’s recommendations,” said Chinamasa.
In answering questions from the members of the committee on how exactly the government eventually managed to become the sole shareholder of SMM, Chinamasa said negotiations were done with an England based company Turner and Newell PLC which is the original owner of the business.
“We hold the share certificates given to us by T an A, they are with us, the company now belong to us,” said Chinamasa with his customary bravado.
“Mr Mawere is not the owner of SMM and he should not pretend to be one.” The members of parliament also asked Chinamasa why SMM mines have not yet got an investor despite pronouncements by government that it was looking for one.
In his response Chinamasa made a startling revelation.
“The Administrator was directed by a cabinet committee that he was going to have no other investor other than one from the east and that investor had to be from China. That was because of the sanctions imposed on the country. We could not have an investor from a country that is not friendly to Zimbabwe,” said Chinamasa.
He however maintained that the only way to save the mines which employs about 5600 workers and benefit indirectly about 60 000 people was to find an investor for the company.
At its peak the company was producing about 12 000 tonnes of asbestos fibre a month translating into a 10 percent contribution to the national purse. It was however reduced to paltry earnings and a production level of just about 1000 tonnes a month by the time business grounded to a halt.
According to Chinamasa, SMM’s state indebtedness stands at a total of $ 115 million dollars. This is broken down as state assistance in financial loans through the Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe and direct loans.
Others are comprised of money owed to state-controlled enterprises such as the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and the Minerals Marketing Corporation of
Zimbabwe (MMCZ). – Radio VOP