11 April 2018

Zimbabwe: Parly to Summon Mugabe Over Chiadzwa

Photo: The Herald
Former president Robert Mugabe (file photo).

THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy has resolved to summon former president Robert Mugabe to appear for a hearing, as it seeks to conclude its probe into the alleged disappearance of $15 billion worth of diamonds from Marange diamond fields.

Mr Mugabe was the whistleblower on the alleged looting of diamonds at Chiadzwa.

The chairperson of the committee, Mr Temba Mliswa, said they had resolved to invite Mr Mugabe as they sought answers on what transpired.

"The committee had already resolved to invite him after we had heard the evidence and if our recommendations suit what the inquiry was about, there might be no need to call him because it's up to the information that we require," he said.

"I cannot pre-empt anything because we will be seeking what we are seeking regarding the $15 billion worth of diamonds which went missing."

Mr Mliswa declined to state when Mr Mugabe was likely to appear before the committee, saying it would depend on the answers that they would get from officials invited so far.

"If we have the answers there might be no need," he said.

"But we had resolved that he must attend. My point is that we are not witch-hunting, we are actually trying to get institutions to respond to the $15 billion leakage in terms of diamonds.

"When we have received all the evidence we will deliberate on it, but in terms of him coming we had resolved that we will invite everybody, especially him since he was the source.

"But if the oral evidence indicates that he was right, what is the point. It's subject to what we went through yesterday, but we had already resolved (to invite him). After every oral evidence session, we sit down and deliberate. Before we met, we had deliberated that he must come and we resolved that.

"The next thing is that now that we have received all this information, what is the way forward pertaining to the resolution that we made .This is when we say he will come on such a date."

Mr Mliswa said Mr Mugabe, as former president, would come last in the hearings.

He said the committee would be done with its hearings and recommendations in a fortnight.

"We will be doing recommendations as soon as we go back to the House (Parliament)," he said.

"We will certainly be tabling our report and recommendations."

If Mr Mugabe appears before the committee, it would be the first time he makes a public appearance following his resignation last year.

The committee has summoned a number of the top officials to give evidence into the mining of diamonds from Chiadzwa.

Among the officials is Vice President Kembo Mohadi in his capacity as former State Security as well as Home Affairs minister, former Defence minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi and former State Security and Presidential Affairs minister, Mr Didymus Mutasa, will appear before the committee.

Vice President Kembo Mohadi, who was the minister of Home Affairs at the time a concession was granted to police in 2012, did not attend the hearing as he had commitments elsewhere.

Minister of Home Affairs Obert Mpofu, who was the Minister of Mines at the time, recused himself from the hearings as he had written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda saying he was uncomfortable to do so as long as Mliswa was chairing the hearing.

Comm-General Godwin Matanga, former Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo and former Mines and Energy minister Walter Chidhakwa and officials from the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) have appeared before the committee in connection with the probe.

Mr Mliswa said the committee intends to leave no stone unturned in investigating the alleged diamonds looting at Chiadzwa and was keen to interview former Police Commissioner-General Dr Augustine Chihuri whose whereabouts remain unknown.

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