A suspected purge in the faction riddled ZANU PF party is set to claim more individuals, after reports of massive corruption at the state run Marange Resources diamond mining firm.
A report by the Herald newspaper, which has been publishing a series of exposés laying bare the corrupt activities of many ZANU PF members, has this week claimed that millions of dollars has been pilfered by management at Marange Resources. The newspaper claimed that the government was "prejudiced of millions of dollars as management raised inflated procurement receipts and pocketed the difference."
Marange Resources is one of seven firms mining at the controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields, where hundreds of millions of dollars owed to the government has been unaccounted for. This has allegedly been a result of illicit diamond trading, with profits said to be lining the pockets of top ZANU PF officials.
Marange Resources is wholly government owned, and run by a former army Colonel and ZANU PF politburo member Tshinga Dube, who is also the head of the Zimbabwe Defence Industries.
He is now among the top management officials sent on forced leave to make way for an investigation at the firm. The Herald reported that the management there allegedly inflated the figures of purchased equipment to "alarming levels," pocketing the difference. Quoting "insiders" the newspaper also claimed that other parastatals were involved in a network of corrupt deals.
Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa last month ordered a probe into the firm's operations following allegations of malpractice, poor corporate governance and non-compliance with laid down procedures. The audit team is expected to submit their report with revelations of the abuse of funds to the minister at the end of this week.
James Mupfumi, the acting Director of the Centre for Research and Development (CRD), said the corruption and illicit activity at Marange Resources was not surprising, adding: "The surface has just been scratched."
"All the companies operating at Chiadzwa are involved in this kind of activity so they should be made to stop their operations and a full investigation must be started to determine how they got mining licenses and who is benefitting," Mupfumi said.
This latest report in the traditionally ZANU PF aligned Herald newspaper has further fuelled speculation that infighting in the ruling party is the real reason for the reports.
Officials mainly linked to the Joice Mujuru faction in the party have so far been targeted in the exposés, including the Marange Resources CEO. Retired colonel Dube was a close friend and ally of Solomon Mujuru, Joice Mujuru's late husband.
Alouis Munyaradzi Chaumba from the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) told SW Radio Africa that whatever political mileage is being gained by the media reports will not impact on the real problem of corruption in Zimbabwe.
"I don't believe there is the political will to stamp out corruption in Zimbabwe, and the actions right now are just lip service," Chaumba said.
He added: "It is just a smokescreen to hoodwink Zimbabweans into believing they are doing something about corruption. Mark my words, in a month you'll see no one will be arrested and nothing will have changed."