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Police summon minister

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MINISTER of State in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Office, Jameson Timba, was yesterday quizzed by police at Harare Central Police Station in the Law and Order section, over an investigation he conducted in the Marange diamond mining area.

Report by Moses Matenga

Timba told NewsDay he went to the police station in the morning in the company of his lawyer Selby Hwacha and was interrogated for more than two hours.

He, however, said he declined to divulge information relating to his findings.

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she was out of Harare and was unaware of the matter. She referred NewsDay to chief superintended Andrew Phiri, whose mobile went unanswered until the time of going to print last night.

The MDC-T international relations secretary claimed police wanted to find out if he had received confidential information relating to diamond mining from a suspect they had arrested. But he declined to co-operate saying he did not know why he was being involved in the issue.

“Police are inquiring as towhether in conducting my work I received any confidential information pertaining to the diamond operations in Marange,” Timba said.

“Firstly I was not sure what confidential information (they meant) with respect to the operations of an entity owned by the State meant to a Cabinet minister and Member of Parliament. Secondly I was not shown the charge sheet of the accused nor his statement.

“I am therefore not clear as to the link between the charges preferred against that person and myself. As a result I declined to either comment or give them a statement.”

Timba said he understood the police were investigating someone over the diamonds issue, but was not clear what really they wanted from him as a government official.

“My position in general, however, as an MP and a Cabinet minister, is that we need transparency in the mining and marketing of our diamond resources in a manner that ensures that revenue, which belongs to the people of Zimbabwe, accrues to Treasury,” he said.

“Those are the demands of the people I represent in Mt Pleasant.”
Asked what he made of this, Timba said it was a reflection of the season of harassment.

“Not only is the rainy season now upon us, but also the season of harassment and intimidation,” he said.

“Fortunately, this time around, we have coats for both.”

Timba was arrested towards the end of last year and charged for allegedly undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe.

He was, however, released three days later after High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa ruled that the minister’s constitutional rights had been violated.

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