Kasukuwere, Mpofu face grilling

HARARE - Embattled former Youth and Indigenisation minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, faces further scrutiny as he appears in Parliament tomorrow to explain “murky” multi-million dollar empowerment deals handled by a private firm during his tenure.

Kasukuwere will appear in Parliament together with former Mines minister Obert Mpofu to explain the Brainworks Capital deals and the controversy surrounding the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust, purported to have received $50 million from diamond firms mining in Chiadzwa.

Brainworks Capital and the National Indigenisation and Economic and Empowerment Board (Nieeb) have already appeared before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Indigenisation headed by feisty Gokwe Nembudziya Zanu PF MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena. They disclosed that no tender was floated for the consultancy undertaken by the private firm.

Kasukuwere’s appearance in Parliament comes as the country’s largest civic society group — the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition — released a report on its eight-month probe on the Community Share Ownership Trusts (CSOTs) and the abuse of the Youth Fund — Kurera/Ukondla.

It blames Kasukuwere for the chaos in the CSOTs and the implementation of the empowerment laws which it said must be revised.

The Zanu PF political commissar has received summons to explain how he unfurled the empowerment deals and handled the youth fund which strayed from its intended purpose.

“The above-mentioned committee is currently inquiring into the operations of Community Share Ownership Trusts (CSOTs) and in particular, the Zimunya Marange CSOT,” reads part of the summons.

“The committee, has however, failed to make headway in terms of ascertaining the quantum of pledges made by the companies in Marange diamond fields towards the CSOT.”

The parliamentary committee warned Kasukuwere that the summons were its last invitation and if he fails to appear before it, he would be sued.

Kasukuwere successor — Francis Nhema, permanent secretaries and diamond firms — have all appeared before the committee, giving conflicting statements.

Now the Wadyajena-led committee wants to bring closure to the saga.

“If by any chance you have any copies of correspondence and agreements entered into between your former office and the diamond mining companies in Marange towards the Zimunya Marange CSOT as well as the former minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon O Mpofu, the committee would request that these be availed to it,” read the summons.

Mpofu will appear separately but to explain the same issues relating to Marange Zimunya CSOT, which all the firms in Chiadzwa have refused to bankroll to the tune of $50 million despite insistence by Kasukuwere that they were now reneging from an initial agreement entered into between diamond mining firms and his former ministry.

President Robert Mugabe was presented with a $50 million dummy cheque which Kasukuwere said was injected into the Marange Zimunya CSOT during a colourful ceremony held in Manicaland in 2012.

 

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