AG in­vokes pow­ers on de­fi­ant di­a­mond firms

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Zva­maida Mur­wira

AU­DI­TOR Gen­eral Ms Mil­dred Chiri has in­voked her pow­ers in terms of the Con­sti­tu­tion to di­rect a foren­sic au­dit to be con­ducted on three de­fi­ant di­a­mond firms that were re­sist­ing to be sub­jected to fi­nan­cial ex­am­i­na­tion as ef­forts to es­tab­lish the po­ten­tial loss es­ti­mated to be $15 bil­lion in­ten­si­fies.

The three firms, Mbada, An­jin In­vest­ments and Ji­nan had been re­sist­ing to have their books of ac­counts au­dited by the Au­di­tor Gen­eral fol­low­ing Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to con­sol­i­date all the seven min­ing firms into one af­ter their li­cences ex­pired.

The three firms have since ap­proached the courts chal­leng­ing the de­ci­sion to have them con­sol­i­dated in ad­di­tion to their de­ci­sion to re­ject an au­dit to es­tab­lish if there was any fi­nan­cial malfea­sance dur­ing their ten­ure at Marange, Man­i­ca­land prov­ince.

Marange Re­sources, Di­a­mond Min­ing Cor­po­ra­tion Gye Nyame and Kusena have al­ready been in­cor­po­rated into the Zim­babwe Con­sol­i­dated Min­ing Com­pany while DTZ that was at Chi­man­i­mani has been ex­empted from the con­sol­i­da­tion since Gov­ern­ment did not have a di­rect in­ter­est.

The dis­pute aris­ing from the com­pa­nies re­sis­tance to be con­sol­i­dated has seen a slump in pro­duc­tion out­put from 500 000 carats per month to 150 000 as no work was be­ing car­ried out in the dis­puted ar­eas.

In an in­ter­view, Sec­re­tary for Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment, Pro­fes­sor Fran­cis Gudyanga, said they had since writ­ten to the three firms to co­op­er­ate af­ter the AG in­voked her pow­ers.

“The Au­di­tor Gen­eral has in­voked her pow­ers in terms of the Con­sti­tu­tion to say where Gov­ern­ment has an in­ter­est, her of­fice can come in and au­dit such en­tity. In this case Gov­ern­ment has an in­ter­est through its 50 per­cent share­hold­ing held by the Zim­babwe Min­ing De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion,” said Prof Gudyanga.

The de­ci­sion to have a foren­sic au­dit on the di­a­mond firms at Chi­adzwa comes as the na­tion waits with a lot of anx­i­ety on how much the coun­try could have been prej­u­diced in leak­ages amid in­di­ca­tions that $15 bil­lion could have been lost in rev­enue.

Prof Gudyanga said only Rus­sian owned DTZ was an ex­cep­tion as Gov­ern­ment did not have a di­rect in­ter­est but would use fig­ures from the Zim­babwe Rev­enue Author­ity and Mines and Min­eral Cor­po­ra­tion of Zim­babwe to au­dit it and have a clear pic­ture of di­a­mond pro­duc­tion dur­ing its time.

“Their ba­sis to refuse the foren­sic au­dit has been that their books have al­ways been au­dited. But to us we be­lieve we have a le­git­i­mate cause for de­mand­ing the foren­sic au­dit to es­tab­lish what has been hap­pen­ing. We need to have a clear pic­ture, re­mem­ber there are re­ports that the coun­try could have lost $15 bil­lion, so it is im­por­tant that we have such an au­dit,” said Prof Gudyanga.

“We are cur­rently pro­duc­ing 150 000 carats per month be­cause of their de­fi­ance, had we been op­er­at­ing at full throt­tle we should be pro­duc­ing about 500 000 carats,” said Prof Gudyanga.

Sec­tion 309 (2) of the Con­sti­tu­tion pro­vides as fol­lows: “The func­tions of the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral are—(a) to au­dit the ac­counts, fi­nan­cial sys­tems and fi­nan­cial man­age­ment of all de­part­ments, in­sti­tu­tions and agen­cies of gov­ern­ment, all provin­cial and met­ro­pol­i­tan coun­cils and all lo­cal au­thor­i­ties; (b)at the re­quest of the Gov­ern­ment, to carry out spe­cial au­dits of the ac­counts of any statu­tory body or gov­ern­ment­con­trolled en­tity.”

Prof Gudyanga said they would soon ap­ply for an evic­tion or­der to have the com­pa­nies leave the premises to al­low di­a­mond min­ing to re­sume so as to in­crease out­put.

“They can­not hold the coun­try to ran­som. They failed to re­new their li­cences and that was not our fault as Gov­ern­ment,” said Prof Gudyanga.

STEM win­ners pose for a pic­ture af­ter a han­dover cer­e­mony at Nust in Bu­l­awayo yes­ter­day

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