18 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Kasukuwere Faces Questions Over U.S.$45 Million Consultancy Deal

ZANU PF's indigenisation minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, is once again in an unwanted spotlight.

The Mount Darwin South MP faces questions on how a company, allegedly owned by a close friend, managed to win multi-million dollar financial consultancy contracts, without going to tender.

The consultancy involves Brainworks Capital Investment, founded by former investment banker George Manyere.

The Daily News newspaper reported last week that the company was verbally appointed as financial consultant of several indigenization deals, including the $971 million deal with Zimbabwe Platinum Mines Limited (Zimplats), and one for $550 million with Mimosa mining.

According to the paper, Brainworks was awarded the contract by the National Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Board (Nieeb) and Kasukuwere's ministry. The process flouted government procedure on tenders.

Any government transaction above $300,000 has to go to tender but the Daily News alleges that Brainworks Capital was awarded the multi-million dollar tender verbally.

The deal has apparently cause fissures in the former ruling party. Didymus Mutasa, the party's secretary for administration, while professing ignorance on how the empowerment deals are structured, promised that any corrupt elements within their ranks would be "grassed" to the police.

'Corruption is not accepted in ZANU PF. The President has said no to that and we stand by that. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones, but they should not expect us not to throw them if there are corrupt.

'If we find any corrupt elements, we will throw them to the police and let the law take its course,' said Mutasa in an interview with the Daily News on Sunday.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai waded into the row on Monday when he disclosed that he was concerned about the possibility of a few individuals benefitting from a programme meant for the majority of the Zimbabweans.

In a statement the premier said he was concerned with reports that some relevant government organs were kept in the dark about the full nature of some of these transactions. Tsvangirai called upon Parliament to probe the deal.

'Only a proper investigation will expose the truth about what happened and whether or not the State and the people of Zimbabwe were prejudiced in any way and whether all procedures and statutes were followed.

A good number of Zimbabweans have for some time been questioning the sincerity of this programme as a broad-based empowerment programme designed to benefit the majority,' the premier added.

Economic analyst and business lawyer Bekithemba Mhlanga told SW Radio Africa that the problem with the share transfer scheme is that all the deals are shrouded in secrecy.

'There will always be speculation because not all the information is readily available. The common man on the street will not be interested in terms of the financial complexities of the model of the share structure.

'What that person wants to see is the share structure benefitting everybody and not only the elite,' Mhlanga said.

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