ORAL evidence from different witnesses who appeared before the Mines and Energy Parliamentary Portfolio Committee last week to speak on the alleged missing $15 billion diamond revenue showed that deposed President Robert Mugabe did not take action as the corruption was reported to him.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Businessman Lovemore Kurotwi, who appeared last week before the committee and narrated how his diamonds worth $150 million (1,7 million carats) were confiscated by former Mines minister Obert Mpofu for refusing to pay him a $10 million bribe, told the committee that as an investor, he felt abused by government.
“As a person, I feel I was abused. It is not normal to be subjected to such a situation by your own government. Those in power can do whatever they want with you with impunity, and I am really down,” Kurotwi told the Mines Committee.
“Mpofu told me he will not introduce my investors (Canadile Miners) to mine in Marange because I had not paid him the $10 million. So, what it implies is that those that were allowed to mine in Chiadzwa paid him (Mpofu).”
Asked by Fanny Chirisa (MDC-T proportional representative legislator) to explain what steps Mugabe took after he heard that Mpofu had asked for a bribe from Kurotwi, Mliswa said it would be a question that the Mines Committee would pose to Mugabe himself.
“It is a question for Mugabe to answer. The committee can summon anyone, except the current President, to appear before Parliament to give oral evidence. We have a right to question Mugabe and it only makes logical sense that the committee asks Mugabe to respond to that,” Mliswa said.
Another matter, where Mugabe was said to have failed to take action as chaos ensued in the mining sector, is when the Mines ministry under former minister Walter Chidakwa introduced the consolidation of diamond mining.
Russian investors with DTZ Ozgeo were said to have been ill-treated, when 80 heavily-armed police officers sent everyone packing and took over their mine after they had invested millions into the project.
DTZ Ozgeo managing director Victor Kusyla told MPs that the takeover of his diamond mine during Mugabe’s era was in breach of security of tenure.
“Such issues must not be repeated because we might want to invest in another project, for example, livestock, and our hands will be tied because we were ill-treated,” Kusyla said.
He said the contract which they were made to sign with Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company to take over their equipment and mine was under duress, as they were blatantly told by Chidakwa that if they failed to sign it, they stood to lose out.