AT least five Zanu PF bigwigs are on the brink of being expelled from the party following revelations of fraud and self-enrichment in a diamond money scam involving more than US$750 000, part of which they allegedly used to bankroll luxurious lifestyles.
The five, who include Manicaland provincial chairperson Mike Madiro, ousted provincial youth chairperson Tawanda Mukodza, provincial youth secretary for security Admire Mahachi, provincial youth secretary for information Masimba Kangai and former district coordinating committee member Clever Muparutsa, appeared before a provincial disciplinary committee chaired by Zanu PF Manicaland vice chairperson Dorothy Mabika last Friday, and again this week.
Mabika has since submitted her report to the party's national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo.
Zanu PF national secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said: "We have received reports to that effect (the US$750 00 fraud) and there is a committee that is investigating the matter chaired by Mai Mabika."
Madiro and his colleagues are facing allegations of soliciting money from diamond mining companies in Chiadzwa, Mbada Diamonds and Anjin, purportedly for party activities, including preparations for the party's annual people's conference in Gweru last December.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Madiro said: "I have no comment; write what you like."
According to correspondence between acting police Commissioner-General Levi Sibanda, acting President Joice Mujuru, Khaya Moyo and Mabika, the five allegedly converted the money to their own use in a fraudulent scheme for personal gain which involved the buying of houses, vehicles and other properties.
Highly placed sources told the Independent Madiro, who is said to be a protégé of Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa in his fight with Mujuru for control of the party, was set to be fired from his position last week.
However sources said Mnangagwa and Zanu PF Women's League boss Oppah Muchinguri fought in his corner and successfully argued that a provincial disciplinary hearing be first conducted before making recommendations to the politburo.
Mukodza was the first major casualty after youth secretary Absalom Sikhosana signed his dismissal letter following a vote of no-confidence.
The provincial disciplinary committee was set up under Mabika, who summoned Madiro and the others to a hearing held last week in Mutare.
The Independent was shown a copy of a letter signed by Mabika inviting Madiro to appear before a disciplinary hearing on January 12 at 10am to "answer allegations of acts of fraud and corruption associated with you".
Sources said Madiro and his accomplices approached Mbada Diamonds and another unnamed diamond company to solicit funds for the Zanu PF annual people's conference held in Gweru last December, and were money which they allegedly converted to their own use.
It is alleged Mbada gave them US$300 000 while the other unnamed company gave them US$450 000 which they shared amongst themselves.
The saga only came to light after one of them reported the matter to Mutare police after being paid less than what he expected from the US$450 000.
When the Independent approached one of the accused provincial executives who requested anonymity, he said: "There were no problems in sharing the first US$300 000 but matters only came to a head when we received far less than we anticipated of our share of the US$450 000."
Sources said a third diamond company (believed to be Anjin) insisted on depositing its donation of US$400 000 into a Zanu PF bank account.
When the matter was reported to the police, Sibanda wrote to Mujuru in a two-lined letter -- with the police report attached - seeking advice on what action to take since the issue involved party bigwigs.
Mujuru then wrote to Khaya Moyo telling him to take action. Khaya Moyo subsequently met with the national disciplinary committee of which Mnangagwa is a member.
It was at this meeting that Mnangagwa and Muchinguri allegedly shot down the idea of sacking Madiro, arguing that the case be first dealt with by the provincial disciplinary committee in Manicaland.
The provincial disciplinary committee met Madiro and the four before meeting representatives of the mining companies to hear their side of the story.
Allegations are that Madiro used part of the money to complete the building of a 36-roomed mansion in Mt Pleasant along Arundel Road.
He has also bought a Volkswagen Amarok vehicle, whose price ranges between US$48 000 and US$56 000, sources said.
Mukodza, who used to work for the Mutare City Council before his dismissal last year, is said to have moved from his one-roomed lodgings in Sakubva to a three-bedroomed house in Hobhouse 2, in Mutare. He now reportedly drives a Toyota Nadia, among other vehicles he has since bought.
"Mukodza bought house number 4244 Hobhouse 2; two stands in the Border-View suburb; another near 3 Brigade in Chikanga and St Joseph all in Mutare," said the source.
However, a relative of Mukodza, Timothy Mukodza phoned the Independent yesterday claiming that he was the rightful owner of number 4244 Hobhouse 2.
Sources said either Arda chairman Basil Nyabadza, who is being pushed by Mutasa, or central committee member retired Lt-General Mike Nyambuya, who is seen as a neutral in the province, is likely to take over as acting chair until fresh elections are held if Madiro is fired.
Madiro was one of the six provincial chairpersons suspended over the Tsholotsho declaration in 2004 at which a plot to propel Mnangagwa to the vice presidency was allegedly hatched after the death of Vice President Simon Muzenda.