ZANU-PF's Presidium has ordered police to takeover investigations of the five senior party officials from Manicaland who are facing allegations of fraud and corruption involving more than US$700 000 they allegedly collected from diamond mining companies.
This latest development came about after the provincial disciplinary committee that had been set up to investigate the case exonerated the five.
The Presidium is composed of President Mugabe, who is the party's First Secretary and President, Vice President Joice Mujuru, who is the Vice President and Second Secretary and national chairperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo.
The Manicaland issue was supposed to be on the Politburo's agenda on Wednesday but was struck off after the party leadership felt there was need for further investigations.
"The Presidium has decided that further investigations be carried out by the police," said party spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo.
"They felt further investigations were necessary. They want the police to look into the matter so it will be referred to the police."
The five are provincial chairman Cde Mike Madiro, ousted youth provincial chairman Cde Tawanda Mukodza, youth provincial secretary for administration Cde Mubuso Chinguno, youth provincial secretary for security Cde Admire Mahachi and former Mutare Urban DCC chairman Cde Clever Mparutsa
Cde Gumbo declined to divulge findings of the provincial disciplinary committee that was chaired by deputy provincial chairperson Cde Dorothy Mabika.
"As I said, the issue was not discussed in the Politburo so I cannot comment on the findings of the provincial disciplinary committee. The report was not discussed but the Presidium recommended that there was need for further investigations," he said.
Secretary for Administration Cde Didymus Mutasa added: "I am sure the report was given to the National Chairman (Cde Simon Khaya Moyo who is the chairperson of the party's National Disciplinary Committee) who met his colleagues in the disciplinary committee and agreed that the issue was supposed to be referred to the Presidium.
"The Presidium then ordered that police should further investigate the matter."
Insiders said further investigations were ordered amid indications that some people in the provincial disciplinary committee were compromised as they had relations with some of the suspects.
"People were concerned when the provincial disciplinary committee claimed there was no issue when it's well documented that something of that sort had happened.
"The provincial disciplinary committee's findings were considered strange because they exonerated those people of any wrongdoing. As a party we want to demonstrate that we don't condone such behaviour and that is the reason why the issue is being referred to the police," said a source
Another insider added: "What we got (provincial disciplinary committee findings) is the kind of feedback you get kana ukatuma shumba kunotonga imwe shumba. It was obvious they were going to exonerate them because pane nyaya dzekudanana pavanhu ivava. So obviously they were not going to convict them because some of them benefited from the money."
There are allegations that the five officials went to diamond mining companies last year where they misrepresented to them that they wanted money for various party activities, but the money never reached its intended beneficiaries.
One of the companies is alleged to have released US$300 000 while an unnamed company is alleged to have given US$450 000.
Zanu-PF National Youth Affairs department recently endorsed the ousting of Cde Mukodza over the issue after the provincial youth leadership passed a vote of no confidence in him.