Call to probe Kasukuwere
THE Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe AntiCorruption Commission and the Auditor General should move in to investigate Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere over possible abuse of office and misleading President Mugabe about a $50 million pledge ostensibly made by Chiadzwa diamond firms towards the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust, legislators have said.
The parliamentary portfolio committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment chaired by Gokwe Nembudziya MP Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena recommended that President Mugabe should establish a commission of enquiry led by a High Court judge to investigate the “intricate web of deceit,” by Minister Kasukuwere when he was still Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.
The committee’s report was tabled yesterday following more than two years of inquiry that entailed holding meetings with other Cabinet Ministers, representatives of diamond firms, Marange communities among others.
In tabling the report, Cde Wadyajena said it was important to note that his committee comprised of 30 legislators, 21 of whom were from Zanu-PF while others were from MDC-T.
The report noted that President Mugabe was made to preside over the launch of the trust in Marange where he was presented a dummy cheque of $1,5 million purportedly coming from one of the diamond firms when no agreement had been reached between the concerned companies. Neither were there documents showing such a consensus.
“With the findings of this inquiry revealing clear deception bordering on criminal abuse of office, the committee calls upon the ZRP, ZACC, the Auditor General and all relevant authorities to institute formal proceedings within 14 days from the adoption of this report to investigate the conduct of Honourable Minister Kasukuwere, officials from the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board as well as the respect accorded to the President and the chiefs in the area as reflected by the statements made by the villagers,” said Cde Wadyajena while presenting the report.
“The committee further recommends that the President, H E Cde RG Mugabe establishes a commission of inquiry led by a judge or any other suitable candidate to investigate the intricate web of deceit, corruption and fraud related to the establishment and implementation of the trust. Further, that particular attention must be paid to a likely covert strategy meant to discredit and malign the Office of the President.”
Cde Wadyajena said all Cabinet Ministers they interviewed who included Cde Francis Nhema, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa, his predecessor Dr Obert Mpofu, the then Manicaland Governor Cde Christopher Mushohwe and diamond mining firms, professed ignorance about the existence of an agreement of $50 million pledge neither was there any documentation to that effect.
“The committee is persuaded to conclude that the diamond mining companies never at any point pledged the $10 million apiece and the nation was misled by Hon Minister Kasukuwere. There remains neither a clear paper trail nor recorded minutes between officials from the diamond mining companies and the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment,” said Cde Wadyajena.
Before the presentation was made, there was a heated argument between legislators on one hand and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Cde Mabel Chinomona and Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda after the latter stopped the report’s presentation arguing that the Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda wanted to go through it first.
Buhera South MP Cde Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu-PF) said attempts to stop reports detailing corruption was the basis upon which people created the perception that Zanu-PF was covering up the vice.
“President Mugabe and Zanu-PF do not condone corruption. You do not need to stop a process just because it implicates senior Government officials. Madam Speaker, people did not go to war so that one person would enjoy the wealth of this country. Recently, the leader of Government business in this House (Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa) told this House that no one was above the law. Zanu-PF has been accused of protecting people. If Chinotimba commits a crime, he should be arrested. The Zimbabwe National Army has since weighed in to say corruption is now a cancer,” said Cde Chinotimba.
Cde Chinomona later allowed the report to be tabled saying she was not aware that Adv Mudenda had since gone through it and cleared it.