HARARE – UNDER fire Energy and Power Development Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire connived with his deputy Engineer Munacho Mutezo to coerce Zesa Holdings to give money to the Manicaland Zanu-PF Women’s League ahead of its conference last August to abet Vice President Joice Mujuru’s bid to oust President Mugabe.
According to a bank statement seen by the state media, Zesa Holdings deposited $40 000 in the Manicaland Women’s League account number 23916650018 held by CBZ Bank on July 31 this year. The bank account was apparently provided to Zesa by Deputy Minister Mutezo, who is also a Zanu-PF Politburo member, with strict instructions that the money be deposited.
Deputy Minister Mutezo’s wife Loveness was deputy chairlady in Manicaland, but was booted out recently through a vote of no confidence alongside chairlady Joyline Chipo Porusingazi and secretary for finance Pedigree Matara. The trio was accused of fanning factionalism, undermining the authority of the President and misappropriating the league’s funds.
Between them, Porusingazi and Matara withdrew $45 733 leaving the account with a mere $1.50. Zesa chief executive officer Engineer Josh Chifamba confirmed the deposit yesterday, telling the state media that he complied with a directive that “came from authorities”.
“It is true that there was a deposit of $40 000 on July 31 this year after a request from authorities had been made to that effect and account details were given to us,” he said while declining to name the person who made the request. “We acted accordingly. That money was deposited when there was a fundraising dinner, I think.” The dinner dance that was supposed to be graced by VP Mujuru in Manicaland for the provincial Women’s League failed to take off in June.
But sources at Zesa said it was Deputy Minister Mutezo’s practice to coerce parastatals under the ministry to “donate”. When he was chairman of Hwange Colliery, he got the company to donate $1 million which was used to support Vice President Mujuru’s political programme, in exchange for support for a Politburo position.
“That request to give the $40 000 to Manicaland was made by the deputy minister. It is not only Zesa, but other parastatals like Petrozim are also under pressure from the deputy minister. “Our seniors reluctantly comply with his directive because when he makes such requests he does that with the confidence of someone with power from higher authority.
“For instance, the chief executive officer (Eng Chifamba) is forced to comply with such directives because of his perceived links to MDC because he was appointed by Elton Mangoma when he was the minister. He is afraid of being painted as MDC if he refuses to sponsor Zanu-PF activities. “The most difficult part is that when such directives are made one cannot tell if they are genuine or dubious as they have a political face.”
Minister Mavhaire, who has previously denied knowledge of such funding maintained his line yesterday, expressing exasperation at being probed. “I don’t know anything about that deposit,” he said. “If the deputy minister did that, it is very wrong. It’s totally unacceptable. “I don’t understand how the deputy minister could do that without my knowledge, without the board’s knowledge as well. How did Zesa deposit that money without my knowledge? You can ask the deputy minister if I was aware of his directive. It’s totally unacceptable.”
Deputy Minister Mutezo expressed ignorance of the deposit . “It is not my responsibility,” he said, before hanging the call when he was told authorities at Zesa confirmed the directive came from him. Insiders who spoke to The Herald yesterday said there’s an urgent need for a thorough going forensic audit at Zesa as the $40 000 given to the women’s league in Manicaland was a drop in the Zambezi compared to the millions that have allegedly been siphoned from the financially bleeding State enterprise and distributed across the country in support of the Mujuru faction’s bid to oust President Mugabe.
In Manicaland the money from Zesa was withdrawn and used by two individuals, Joyline Porusingazi, who is wife to suspended central committee member and Chipinge South MP, Cde Enock Porusingazi, and Pedigree Matara. The latter withdrew $10 000 from the bank account a day after Zesa Holdings deposited the $40 000. Matara withdrew $2 400 on August 5 2014, while Porusingazi withdrew another $5 000 the following day.
Sources said the money was used for vote buying during provincial Women’s League elections to fill slots for Central Committee members which were held on August 6. On August 9 2014, Matara withdrew $1 646, while Porusingazi cashed out $3 000 on August 13, 2014, with the money believed to have been taken to Harare for vote buying at the Women’s League conference which opened the following day.
The Women and Youth’s League Conferences were marred by massive irregularities bordering on bribes corruption and abductions all which were strongly condemned by President Mugabe. Matara withdrew $440 on August 25 2014 before Porusingazi took $4, 000 on September 30 2014.
On October 7, Matara withdrew $1 500 just in time for First Lady Grace Mugabe’s “Meet the people Tour” at Sakubva Stadium on October 10 which was disrupted by drunken youths who had been allegedly paid off using the money. Matara withdrew another $1 480 on October 22 2014, while Cde Porusingazi withdrew $2 000 on November 1 2014 before Matara again cashed out $3 000 on the same day.
It is believed the money was used by officials in the province who are against the ascendancy of First Lady, Amai Mugabe to lead the Women’s League to pay youths who disrupted a provincial coordinating committee meeting on November 3 2014. The youths, who were being led by ousted provincial Youth League member Sheila Mutsenhu, jeered and heckled senior party members like Oppah Muchinguri, Mandi Chimene, Kudzai Chipanga and Supa Mandiwanzira.
Mutsenhu is alleged to have taken delivery of a Toyota Hilux vehicle from a senior Zanu-PF member in the province as part of the anti-Amai Mugabe campaign. On November 11 2014, Matara withdrew $1 000, while Cde Porusingazi cashed out $2 000 on November 13 2014, the day she was booted out together with Mutezo.
After their sacking, Matara withdrew $8 267 on November 15 2014, leaving a balance of $1.50 in the bank account. The money was recovered from Matara by the interim executive which reported her to the police, leading to their arrest, while the interim executive hinted it will press fraud charges against Porusingazi and Mutezo.
Matara has since appeared in court facing charges of fraud and was remanded to December 15. Other companies that deposited money into the Zanu-PF Manicaland Women’s League bank account that was opened in June this year ahead of the botched dinner dance included Allied Timbers, Marange Resources and Kassim Wholesalers.