Tell the truth on Marange, MBF urges CIO

The Manicaland Business Forum has called on the CIO investigation team to tell President Robert Mugabe the truth about the large-scale looting of diamonds in Marange.

Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa.
Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa.

This comes after Marange Resources senior management was recently suspended for alleged looting running into millions of dollars realized from inflating procurement receipts.

Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa ordered a probe into the firm’s operations following allegations of malpractices poor corporate governance and non-compliance with the procedures. Members of the CIO from Mutare and Harare were appointed to investigate together with auditors from the Ministry of Finance.

Telling lies

An audit on Marange Resources Diamond Company revealed that the government paid millions of dollars into a scheme that benefited management, who raised inflated procurement receipts and lined their pockets with the difference.

An impeccable source told The Zimbabwean last week that the firm bought heavy duty mining equipment, which cost millions of dollars, but management generated receipts that inflated the figures to absurd amounts.

Top management has been sent on leave while investigations are underway. They include chief executive officer Obert Dube, his personal assistant Sydil Dhliwayo, chief finance officer Wilfred Munemo, procurement executive Piri Mukono, human resources executive Elijom Shumba, chief security officer Numeri Muwandi and sales and marketing executive Wilfred Munamati.

“Marange Resources board is also being investigated on whether it had carried out its duties effectively as guided by the company’s policies,” said the source.

The investigation team was expected to detail how much in fees and allowances was paid to board members compared with those stipulated by the shareholders, and to examine the human resources recruitment criteria.

“Our security agents, especially CIOs, should tell our country’s leadership about the true happenings at Chiadzwa. More often than not they are telling lies and are misleading the country, pretending that all is well. I say all is not well at Chiadzwa,” said Bernard Muusha, the Secretary General of MBF.

“We are concerned about issues of governance and accountability by the mining companies at Chiadzwa. Marange Resources should be thoroughly investigated and the truth must come out. The corruption at Chiadzwa is just a tip of an iceberg,” he added.

Chidhakwa said he was still to get feedback from the investigation team and could not comment further as the team was still carrying out its investigations. He said the company, despite being wholly owned by the state, failed to remit “reasonable” money to government. Other firms in which the State had 50 percent shareholding remitted more than Marange Resources.

A Parliamentary portfolio committee investigation last year revealed that up to $2 billion in government revenue was missing from joint ventures in Marange, including Marange Resources. Mbada Diamonds and Anjin, both of which are controlled by the military, police and intelligence services, are also set to be probed. Government has also dissolved the board of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and suspended general manager, Jerry Ndlovu.

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