(Last Updated on April 4, 2014 by Editor)
FORMER Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s account on the ongoing community share ownership scheme disbursements saga in Marange has been put to question again.
Kasukuwere claims companies mining gems in Chiadzwa each pledged $10 million towards the controversial Marange-Zimunya community share ownership schemes.
But the companies deny this, saying they infact pledged and agreed with government to contribute $1,5 million each.
To bolster his side of the argument, Kasukuwere, now environment minister, went on to produce documentary “evidence”, which was reproduced in State media.
These were, according to Kasukuwere, letters purportedly written to then Mines minister, Obert Mpofu and the Mbada Diamonds boss indicating that the companies were each to contribute $10 million.
While Kasukuwere walked tall after tendering the “evidence”, his successor Francis Nhema came to parliament Thursday where he refused to confirm the originality of the letters.
“I have checked with all the files at the ministry it seems I cannot locate them,” Nhema told parliament’s committee on youth and indigenisation.
“I have even asked officials whether the letters are there. The problem is that there is no reference, no date stamp to authenticate the letters. I have checked with many files I don’t know if they are there.”
Nhema added, upon further questioning, “I can’t say that there are not authentic but I have not seen any of the said letters. I tried to ask the (ministry) officials but no one knows about them.”
Nhema said there was, infact, no written commitment to the pledges by the firms but there was a “gentlemen understanding” the miners would stretch up to $10 million each.
“There was a meeting that was held between my predecessor and the mining firms where the issue of setting up community share ownership trust was discussed,” he said.
“During this meeting on 13 June 2012, the company representatives were urged to start disbursing money the CSOT with $10 million being the baseline for each company.
“But there was no written agreement on that Mr Chairperson, it was a gentlemen agreement based on mutual respect and understanding of the law.”
His statement did not go down well with the Mayor Wadyajena chaired committee which quizzed the minister “since when did government start operating on gentlemen’s agreement with private companies”.
“Yes I understand your concern, but I think it is time people begun to have trust and respect against each,” Nhema said.
“You are a businessman and you understand that at times you can make a gentlemen’s agreement.”
Among the firms digging for diamonds in Marange, Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Anjin Investments, Jinan and Diamond Mining Company.Newzimbabwe