Home » Governance » MPs Grill Mushohwe Over Marange

Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Christopher Mushohwe wrote to at least one diamond mining company instructing it to deposit money in a bank account he said belonged to the US$50 million Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust. Minister Mushohwe yesterday at first denied before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment that he had made such an instruction.

However, committee chair, MP for Gokwe-Nembudziya Cde Justice Wadyajena (Zanu-PF), produced a letter signed by the minister to that effect and the senior Government official conceded he had indeed issued the instruction.

Minister Mushohwe was summoned before the committee after Anjin Investments board member Mr Munyaradzi Machacha told Parliamentarians recently that the minister had given them an account number to deposit money for the trust.

Mr Machacha also said the diamond mining firm did not know the Marange-Zimunya trustees and Minister Mushohwe was their point man.

Minister Mushohwe told the committee: “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 . . . Not to my knowledge.”

Cde Wadyajena then produced a letter which Minister Mushohwe wrote in September 2012 to Anjin Investments giving them the trust’s account number.

Minister Mushohwe then said: “Chairman, like I said that I can’t remember and you may recall that I did indicate that Minister (Saviour) Kasukuwere (then Indigenisation Minister) wrote to me asking me to ensure that the companies had to fulfil their pledges.

“Indeed, I wrote it. It was a response to Minister Kasukuwere’s request and I think it’s perfect that I would have done that but I had forgotten that I wrote that letter. Yes, this is a letter from my office . . . This is my signature. But I am glad that the account that is there is for Marange-Zimunya Community Trust.”

The minister presented correspondence he said was from the Indigenisation Ministry to the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, as well as a letter from Minister Kasukuwere, asking him to follow up on pledges made by diamond mining companies to the trust. Each of the five diamond miners was to put up US$10 million.

Cde Wadyajena asked Minister Mushohwe why some of the 2012 letters had April 2014 date stamps.

Minister Mushohwe responded: “The letter of the 5th of September written to the permanent secretary by Mrs Mupanduki (then Manicaland director in the Indigenisation Ministry) was written to that ministry and all the stamps on this letter are from the ministry.

“I can’t comment why the dates on the stamps are different . . . This is from the ministry . . . I only got a copy that was copied to me. What I am saying is this one which says 4 April 2014, it went to the director of Indigenisation and this one says it went to the Ministry of Youth.

“I am sure the ministry can explain because I can’t comment on stamps from a ministry which is not my ministry. I can’t comment on internal communications of a ministry which is not under me.”

Bikita East MP Cde Kennedy Matimba (Zanu-PF) insisted that Minister Mushohwe explain why some letters directed to him were dated 2012 but had April 2014 date stamps.

Minister Mushohwe said he received the letters about three days ago.

“That one was addressed to me, yes and I got mine then but I couldn’t get it . . . I did ask Minister Kasukuwere, I said ‘I have misplaced a copy of the letter that you addressed to me’ because I thought it was relevant. So he provided me with a copy.”

When Cde Wadyajena asked him to confirm that Minister Kasukuwere had given him a copy of the letter, Minister Mushohwe then said: “From his office – no, no. The one from Minister Kasukuwere, I got that one from the Ministry of Indigenisation.

“I asked them . . . I said Minister Kasukuwere wrote to me when he was minister, I can’t locate my copy, and can you favour me with a copy because I thought that letter was important for me to bring here and they did help me.”

Goromonzi West MP Cde Beatrice Nyamupinga (Zanu-PF) sought to know how Minister Mushohwe followed up on diamond mining companies’ trust pledges when he did not have the letters from Minister Kasukuwere until about three days ago.

Minister Mushohwe appeared to not directly answer the question and said ideally Minister Kasukuwere should have copied the letters and pledges to him.

MDC legislator for Bulawayo Ms Jasmine Toffa asked how many companies Minister Mushohwe had followed up on and what their responses were.

Minister Mushohwe said he only followed up on Anjin Investments.

MDC-T MP for Nketa Mr Phelela Masuku quizzed the minister on allegations that he and his family were flown to China on holiday by a diamond mining company.

He also asked if Mr Brian Mushohwe (Minister Mushohwe’s nephew), was appointed to the Jinan board as some sort of kickback.

Minister Mushohwe said he started going to China in 2001 when he was Transport Minister and facilitated Air Zimbabwe’s deal to become the first African airline to land in Beijing. He said he played a leading role in fostering Sino-Zimbabwe relations.

Minister Mushohwe then talked about how he helped ensure most rural areas get NetOne mobile phone coverage. Cde Wadyajena interjected, asking Minister Mushohwe to just answer if he had been flown to China.

“I never was flown to China. I often go to China . . . I have a son who is studying in China. I could go to China for holiday but I am not taken by a company. (To) say we are flying you because you have done one, two, and three, no! That’s not correct,” said Minister Mushohwe.

He said then Mines Minister Dr Obert Mpofu appointed Mr Brian Mushohwe to the Jinan board on merit.

Ms Toffa also asked if he knew about a South African company called Sambiri Diamond Holdings.

“I do not know a company called Sambiri Diamonds in South Africa but my family registered a company called Sambiri Diamonds. Sambiri, that’s my totem and my son who did a programme in (diamond) cutting and polishing in South Africa is the one who is trying to look for partners but that has not materialised,” Minister Mushohwe said.

Source : The Herald

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