The deputy director of Zambezi Gas, Linos Masimura, told Parliament on Monday that part of his company’s coal mining concession in Hwange was unfairly cut and given to their competitor, Makomo Resources, which is believed to be owned by Home Affairs and Culture minister Obert Mpofu (pictured).
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Masimura made the remarks when he appeared before the Mines and Energy Parliamentary Portfolio Committee chaired by Temba Mliswa to speak on the company’s coal production in Hwange and to explain the cause of land dispute between Zambezi Gas and Makomo Resources.
He claimed that 19 000 hectares of land belonging to Zambezi Gas had been cleared and explored, but it was deceitfully wrested from them and given to Makomo Resources.
Unverified information before the Mines Committee points to Mpofu as the owner of Makomo Resources and the person who facilitated the snatchinging of the explored 19 000 hectares of land from Zambezi Gas.
Mliswa alleged: “Around 19 000 hectares of the Zambezi Gas portion was explored, but after exploration it went to Makomo Resources and Zambezi Gas was left with a portion which was unexplored. Makomo Resources allegedly belongs to Mpofu and information that we have as a committee is that he used his powers to cut the Zambezi Gas concession to give it to Makomo Resources.”
Masimura could not justify the allegations, but admitted that 19 000 hectares of land which had been explored had been wrested from Zambezi Gas and handed over to Makomo Resources.
Later in an interview with NewsDay after the committee meeting, Masimura said: “Indeed there is a dispute over 19 000 hectares of explored land which went to Makomo Resources. However, it could be speculation that Mpofu owns Makomo Resources. I think it is an issue which needs further investigations by the Mines Committee.”
Zambezi Gas began its operations in March 2017. Masimura said when they began their operations, they were bedevilled by legacy debts, but they cleared all debts by the end of 2017.
“We were at 30 000 tonnes of coal per month, but since January our production is at 250 000 tonnes per month.”
He said, while most of the coal production was delivered to Zesa, the challenges were the delays by the power company to pay for the supplies.