MINES and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa will present a detailed report about the missing $15 billion diamond revenue to Parliament as soon as investigations into the matter have been completed, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
“Chidakwa said he was going to try and see how this money disappeared and will present a report upon conclusion of the investigations to the august Senate on this matter,” Chinamasa told Senate last Thursday after Midlands Senator Lillian Timveous (MDC-T) took him to task over the issue.
“Going forward, I would like to promise honourable Senators that we do not expect what happened yesterday to recur. As you are aware, there is only one company run by the government that is mining diamonds. They have already started and we are happy about what is being done.”
He said government was now receiving daily reports on the amount and quality of diamonds mined from Chiadzwa to combat illicit financial flows in the diamond mining sector.
“It is not that the $15 billion is the amount, but we still have to investigate to see how much it was and who took it.”
The issue of the missing diamonds caused a storm in the National Assembly last week with opposition MPs demanding a probe of top government officials believed to have amassed wealth under suspicious circumstances.
Highfield MP Erick Murai (MDC-T) said the missing revenue could have gone a long way in alleviating food shortages, adding each citizen could have received $1 155 if the money had been shared equally among the country’s 14 million citizens.
“$15 billion is a lot of money, and I calculated it against the Zimbabwean population of 14 million people and discovered if we were to share that amount, each one of us would get $1 155.
“It is prudent that the issue must be investigated so that we cannot say that $15 billion just disappeared, and yet in this august House we have some people who own houses that are better than the hotels we stay in, and that is when we begin to suspect people.”