4 April 2014

Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Chefs Cling on to Mine Assets

THE Hwange Colliery Company corruption saga, in which senior Zanu PF officials who are also deputy ministers have been sucked in, took a new twist amid revelations Fred Moyo and Tendai Savanhu are refusing to hand back the firm's properties, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

Moyo is Mines deputy minister, while Savanhu is deputy minister at the Lands ministry.

Hwange Colliery Company (HCC) and Hwange Coal Gasification Company (HCGC) were allegedly prejudiced of close to US$200 million since January 2009 to May 2013 through "massive externalisation of funds and fraud", according to a forensic audit by Welsa International Chartered Accountants.

In an interview on Wednesday, British businessman and property magnate Nicholas van Hoogstraten, whose company Messina investments holds a 15,09% shareholding in Hwange Colliery, took a swipe at those representing government interests in Hwange whom he labelled corrupt.

"How can you explain a situation where a company is losing close to US$14 million per week," Van Hoogstraten said.

"It is not the common worker who is stealing, but those in power, those that cannot be stopped because I have made reports to the highest office in order to stop this rot, but it seems to be unstoppable.

"Their hands are in the cookie jar when the workers have not been paid for the past eight months."

van Hoogstraten added: "Fred (Moyo) is refusing to hand over the house which he was given when he was still the managing director while Savanhu still has a company vehicle which he has failed to return despite several calls to them to surrender the company properties."

Sources said Moyo claims the company owes him money, hence his refusal to surrender the house in Hwange.

Moyo said he could not comment as he was in mourning.

In an interview on Thursday, Savanhu said he had an agreement with the Hwange Colliery board and not with shareholders over the vehicle.

"The company is not run by shareholders but the board," Savanhu said.

"The board is aware of the whole issue and how it was resolved. Shareholders do not make decisions on how companies are run, this is a prerogative of the management."

Hwange Colliery managing director, Jemester Chininga, said all the questions should be directed to the company's public relations manager Burzil Dube, whose mobile phone was not answered.

Van Hoogstraten also said both Hwange Colliery and Hwange Coal have been used as conduits to siphon millions of dollars by those representing government interests at the expense of the country and workers.

"I advised the highest office to bring the military to stop illegal shipments of coking coal outside Zimbabwe without any records," he said.

"During Moyo's tenure as the managing director the company lost close to 50 000 tonnes of coking coal which was shipped to Maputo and the company never got even a cent from it," Van Hoogstraten said.

Efforts to check this with Moyo failed.

Last week, the independent reported that a forensic audit report done by Welsa International revealed massive externalisation of funds from Hwange Coal to the bank of China via local banks without board approvals.

Moyo and Savanhu allegedly benefitted as they received large amounts of money long after they ceased to be board members of Hwange Colliery and Hwange Coal, a case which was taken to the High Court where they were eventually interdicted from holding offices at HCGC.

The report also indicated illegal exportation of coke without funds going through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe.

Sources close to the development said Hwange Colliery is sitting on an explosive forensic report detailing a number of financial and procurement irregularities, which allegedly occurred during Moyo's tenure.

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