3 March 2018

Zimbabwe: Mliswa Says to Summon Mugabe Over $15 Billion Diamond Scandal

Photo: New Zimbabwe
Temba Mliswa

Parliament's Mines and Energy Committee chair Temba Mliswa has revealed plans to summon ex-President Robert Mugabe to brief MPs on what he knew about the $15 billion worth of stolen diamonds since the formal mining of the gem began 2008.

Mliswa was addressing dozens of youths during a panel discussion organised by the Young People's Dialogue at Sapes Trust on Thursday.

Mugabe, during a ZBC interview on the eve of his 92nd birthday, claimed that up to $15 billion worth of the precious stone in raw form and otherwise could have been siphoned away from Chiadzwa.

He did not reveal the source of the information.

Since he was ousted as President by the military November last year, Mliswa and his committee have intensified a probe into the widely publicised plunder of diamonds by the Mugabe regime and syndicates linked to the once feared leader.

Lately, the mines committees summoned former Mines Minister Obert Mpofu (now Home Affairs) in attempts to glean some information into one of the world's biggest diamond scandals.

Mpofu, for his part, refused to speak before Mliswa insisting the Norton lawmaker has shown inherent bias towards him.

During the SAPES Trust discussion, Mliswa vowed to continue going after the tycoon minister adding that "ministers used to work with impunity under the Mugabe era thinking that nothing will happen to them".

"There is no one in this country who must not be accountable and we must understand that," he said.

"Some of them want to blame former President Mugabe but yet they are actually criminals themselves.

"So we are surrounding the criminals around the criminals, the criminals around the Generals, the criminals around the MPs. We shall be exposing them."

While other co-panelists attended the policy dialogue meeting, Mliswa gave his address to the gallery via phone with his live address played loudly to a predominantly youthful. He was away on a tour with his committee.

"The diamonds sector is marred with corruption and we are picking this up. There shall be no sacred cows. Failure for you to answer means you are guilty," he said while referring to Mpofu.

"This is an opportunity for those that are implicated to say the truth and to be cleaned so that we bring closure to the diamonds situation.

"If we have to bring the former President before us, he will come so that he tells us where he got the $15 billion figure, why the government took over diamond mines yet investors were putting money, why he sent the police, 300 of them with AK rifles, to take over something which really had people investing in it.

"We need to understand why intellectual property rights were violated and we cannot have a country where people are scared to invest because the government will take over because of corruption.

"We never saw that money in the fiscus. It (committee) shall account for that money. If it's not in this generation, then the generation that is coming shall still haunt them."

Mugabe has been accused of running a very corrupt regime which allowed top government officials and the military top brass to plunder the country's resources with impunity.

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