By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
11 April 2014
Minister for Provincial Affairs Christopher Mushowe is the latest member of ZANU PF to be caught flat-footed during the ongoing parliament probes into the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust saga.
Mushowe appeared before the parliamentary portfolio committee on indigenisation on Thursday when he sought to corroborate Minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s story that diamond mining firms at Chiadzwa had pledged $10 million each to the community scheme.
The firms say they pledged only $1.5 million each.
Kasukuwere’s successor in the indigenisation ministry, Francis Nhema, cast doubt on the authenticity of Kasukuwe’s documentary evidence when he was quizzed by the same committee recently.
During the hearing, Mushowe told legislators that he had received a letter from Kasukuwere to follow up on the miners pledge in August 2012, but MPs queried why the letter had a stamp dated April 4th this year.
The minister also denied that he had given the diamond firms an account number into which to deposit the funds, forcing the MPs to show him a copy of a letter signed by him with that instruction.
In Mushowe’s denial, which is captured in a video posted on the Herald newspaper website, he says: “I have never written to them. If they have a letter from me giving them an account number which is not an account number of the Trust, I would be very happy to be availed that communication.”
Mushowe was summoned by the committee after an official from diamond firm Anjin Investments told the MPs recently that the minister had given them an account number to deposit money into.
Mushowe is viewed in political circles as belonging to the ZANU PF faction led by vice president Joice Mujuru. Members of this faction have recently come under attack from those in the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led group who are also driving the corruption exposes which are currently hogging the media.
Observers have dismissed these exposes as mere rhetoric meant to give the Mnangagwa faction an advantage in the fight to succeed Mugabe.
In the meantime Patience Khumalo, the chief executive officer of Mbada Diamonds, has resigned from the company. According to the State media, Khumalo will “be going abroad to pursue personal interests”.
Khumalo is said to be daughter of President Mugabe’s right-hand man Robert Mhlanga, who is also the chairman of Mbada.
Mugabe has already hinted that only one firm will be left to mine diamonds in Chiadzwa and although the company has not been named, it is believed that the mining rights will be given to Mbada, in which his family has a stake.