Former president Robert Mugabe called to testify before parliament in US$15 billion diamonds probe


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 the committee had resolved to invite Mr Mugabe as it seeks answers on what actually 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. I cannot pre-empt anything because we will be seeking what we are seeking regarding the $15 billion worth of diamonds which went missing,” said Mr Mliswa.

The Norton legislator 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. 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,” he said.

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

He said Mr Mugabe, as former President, would come last in the hearings.

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

“We will be done in the next two weeks. We will be doing recommendations as soon as we go back to the House (Parliament). We will certainly be tabling our report and recommendations. Definitely we will be done before Parliament is dissolved otherwise we would have wasted our time and resources,” he said.

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.

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 on Monday as he had commitments elsewhere.

Minister of Home Affairs and Culture, Dr 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, Cde Jacob Mudenda, saying he was uncomfortable to do so as long as Mr Mliswa was chairing the hearing.

Comm-General Godwin Matanga, former Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo, 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.

– Chronicle

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