By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
16 May 2014
Parliament has blocked MPs from quizzing environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, on the establishment of the controversial $50 million Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust when he was indigenisation minister.
Kasukuwere was due to give evidence before the Portfolio Committee on Indigenisation on Thursday. This followed evidence by five diamond mining companies which contradicted Kasukuwere’s claims that they were to contribute $10 million each towards the trust. In their submissions before Parliament some companies claimed that they were not aware of the trust while others said they had pledged only $1.5 million each.
These contradictions, and the fact that President Mugabe presented a dummy $50 million cheque to the trust, prompted Parliament to summon Kasukuwere.
However reports Friday said the hearing could not go ahead after Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma told committee members that, ‘Kasukuwere cannot be invited to appear to answer and produce documents from a ministry of which he is no longer a minister’ because ‘it is not allowed.’
Zvoma claimed that, ‘when a minister transfers, there is what is called a handover, takeover. He is not allowed to carry even one document out of the office except personal documents.’
The MDC-T MP for Nkulumani, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, said Zvoma told them that it was an ‘oversight’ for the committee to invite Kasukuwere. Mahlangu, who is in the committee, told SW Radio Africa that the members were taken aback by Zvoma’s explanation and as such they will be meeting next week to agree on the way forward.
Mahlangu said the MPs share the belief that they have the right to summon Kasukuwere because their mandate says they can invite ‘anyone right from the vice presidents downwards.’ He said more information is still needed on the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust.
The trust was established in 2012 with a view to giving a semblance of community ownership of the diamond mining. However, diamond mining is still shrouded in secrecy with reports of looting and other related forms of corruption.