BINGA North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda (MDC-T) told Parliament yesterday that President Robert Mugabe was misled into believing that small-scale miners benefited from a $500 million facility provided by the government to support their activities.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Sibanda quizzed Mines minister Walter Chidakwa over the issue, claiming Mugabe during presentation of his State of the Nation Address last year, announced that the government had disbursed $500 million to small-scale and artisanal miners.
“It turns out there is no such loan given to small-scale miners. However, the President’s speech made us to believe there was such a loan. So, who is misleading the President that such a loan has been advanced to miners?” he asked.
Chidakwa professed ignorance over the issue and promised to check on the status of the $500 million facility.
But NewsDay later established that Mugabe had alluded to the $100 million loan facility and not $500 million as claimed by Sibanda.
Glen Norah MP, Webster Maondera (MDC-T) also asked Chidakwa to explain why he had failed to issue out a ministerial statement detailing how $15 billion worth of diamonds went missing from Marange.
In response, Chidakwa said: “We did say a forensic audit was going on and the Auditor-General, Mildred Chiri, pointed out that she was auditing a number of companies and the audit has not been completed. When the audit is finished, we will do a report and bring it before Parliament. ”
In an unrelated matter, acting leader of the House, Ignatius Chombo told legislators that Zanu PF was on course to delivering its promised two million jobs.
“The two million jobs are on course in mining, agriculture, higher education and other sectors,” he said, attracting angry disbelief from opposition MPS, who accused him of lying.