Mines ministry officials lied to former President Robert Mugabe in 2016 about the Chinese setting up a $100 million facility to support small-scale miners, Parliament was told on Tuesday.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The issue was revealed when the Mines ministry permanent secretary Onesimo Moyo and officials from the ministry appeared before the Temba Mliswa-chaired Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines to speak on the ministry’s bids for the 2019 budget.
This was not the first time that Mugabe was made to mislead the nation.
In 2013, he was made to present a $10 million dummy cheque to the Chiadzwa Community Share Ownership Trust, which also never materialised.
Dangamvura-Chikanga legislator Prosper Mutseyami (MDC Alliance) demanded that the Mines ministry officials explain whether the $100 million equipment facility announced by Mugabe in the State of the National Address that year was released and to who.
Mines ministry director of finance, Morgan Makina, then disclosed that the $100 million Chinese facility, which was meant for procurement of equipment for small-scale miners, never materialised.
“Yes, the $100 million facility never materialised because after it was agreed with the Chinese, they then demanded that government pays for insurance and freight of the equipment and that is where it ended,” Makina said.
Pincipal director for technical services in the ministry, Charles Tahwa, added: “The $100 million facility could not proceed because of those technical issues. It was going to come as equipment to be given to small-scale miners.”
Makina said the facility was an agreement between the Finance ministry and the Chinese through a Chinese company, FCMG, but they refused to pay the insurance and shipment costs of $35 million, which would mean that the project was going to end up costing $135 million if it had materialised.