Zinwa in mining scam

HARARE - Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa)’s top management has been fingered in an extortion scam under the guise of a de-silting programme that has seen them demanding shares in mining firms operating close to rivers and dams.

According to miners who spoke to the Daily News, the Zinwa officials have threatened not to renew their water licences and influence the closure of mines operating close to any water source, if they do not sign a memorandum of agreement (MoU) with UniZin Resources (UniZin).

“We are being made to sign these papers with the Zinwa people in return for protection. A lot of investors are now withdrawing their investments from small-scale mining due to the extortionist nature of UniZin,” said a miner who preferred anonymity.

According to the MoU which is being forced on to miners and seen by the Daily News, UniZin is described as a commercial arm of Zinwa, with expertise in mineral recovery, sand processing, ?development projects, management and undertaking exploration and mining activities, a claim denied by the ministry of Water.

Zinwa’s executives Samuel Sunguru, Marcos Jinya, Eneas Nhidza are listed as company directors of Unizin, which they claim is owned by the water authority despite Samuel Juru — a non Zinwa employee — being listed as the controlling shareholder.

Minister of Water Resources Development and Management Samuel Sipepa Nkomo professed ignorance of the company and said it had no blessings from his ministry.

“I am not aware of any company by that name,” Sipepa Nkomo said.

“It is the first time I am hearing of it. As Zinwa falls under my ministry any activity they would want to venture into should be approved by my ministry and this was definitely not approved.

“It is not sanctioned by the ministry. The only company that I know and was approved is Livewater which has seen them venturing into bottled water,” he said.

According to the nine-page MoU seen by the Daily News, Unizin proposes a joint venture company (JVC) skewed in its favour, with the special grant applied for at the miner’s expense, but granted under its name.

“The parties intend to establish a joint venture company for the purpose of undertaking the project. Investor (claim or mine owners) will hold a 49 percent stake and Unizin the remaining 51 percent in the JVC,” the document reads.

The agreement also requires the mine or claim owners to contribute all the required funding capital for the JVC, with an initial capital required being the sum of $1,5 million.

“UniZin’s contribution to their shareholding shall be their technical expertise, as well as their institutional and other support as shall be necessary to procure any regulatory approvals and security for the project Investor contribution to its shareholding shall be the injection of capital, for both recurrent and capital expenditure (the purchase of all necessary equipment) and the joint monitoring of infrastructure development for the purpose of the setting up of the project.”

On top of the demands, the national water authority management is also claiming that miners pay a non-refundable $15 000 fee for an assessment of their mining sites, with a feasibility study also being included at a cost of $15 000.

Miners are also being asked to fund the cost of site visit for the assessment of their water licences.

In written responses to the Daily News, Zinwa management denied any wrongdoing and said UniZin was recently constituted and has not yet started operations, thus not yet entered into any partnerships as it is still laying out its modus operandi.

“UniZin is a joint venture company between Zinwa and Universal Recovery (Pvt) Limited (Universal) and its establishment is being finalised,” said Zinwa.

The management argued that the company — which was established in October 2012 — will be earmarked for de-silting major rivers and reservoirs in Zimbabwe.

“As you might well appreciate, there is a lot of siltation occurring in our river systems and dams and we are losing a lot of water. The changing climatological conditions are impacting negatively on the rainfall patterns, hence poor crop yields. Effective water resources management, which includes water harvesting is therefore of paramount importance,” said Zinwa management.

“To this end, Zinwa recently acquired drag-lines to use in the de-silting programme so as to improve river flows and water storage. The initial arrangement was that Zinwa would just de-silt the rivers and dams and then UniZin (in which Zinwa had no shares) would recover minerals from the silt but this never took off the ground as there was no de-silting machinery then.

“Zinwa realised that it would gain mileage if it got involved in the mineral recovery process as the revenue obtained from there would be ploughed back into the de-silting programme, thereby sustaining the programme since there is no budgetary allocation from the government,” said the management — adding that the reconstitution would see Zinwa owning 80 percent shares and universal 20 percent.

The Zinwa management highlighted that the Zinwa Act does not preclude the water authority from venturing into activities related to its core business of water resources planning, assessment, development and management.

“Zinwa intends to de-silt its river systems and reservoirs and intends to recover minerals, if any, from the silt; the revenue of which will be ploughed back into the programme in order to sustain it as mentioned above,” they said.

Comments (13)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with what ZINWA is trying to do. There is a need for URGENTLY desilting the rivers but we all know that the rivers in Zimbabwe are also laden with minerals. These minerals can be recovered from the silt. ZINWA is responsible for de-silting the rivers and this is not a cheap operation. ZINWA should therefore have a stake in the recovery of minerals from the silt so they can recover costs of de-siltation. In the past the ministry of mines just granted miners special grants to mine rivers or near rivers etc but look at the environmental degradation caused by the chinese along Mazowe river and the Russians along Odzi river. ZINWA has the sole responsibility for rivers in Zimbabwe and the miners cannot wish them away

T.MAZITA - 25 July 2013

wooow!!! again the DM exposes these fools. Great reporting

moriarty - 25 July 2013

There is absolutely wrong with the ZINWA proposal as the UniZin proposal will go a long way in funding the de-siltation programme. What is of importance is to have this enshrined within the relevant government statutes. Its confusing if we have got a situation whereby what the minister of water is saying is different from ZINWA's position. There is need for transparency on this whole process.

K. Madzikangava - 25 July 2013

There is nothing absolutely wrong with the ZINWA proposal as the UniZin proposal will go a long way in funding the de-siltation programme. What is of importance is to have this enshrined within the relevant government statutes. Its confusing if we have got a situation whereby what the minister of water is saying is different from ZINWA's position. There is need for transparency on this whole process.

K. Madzikangava - 25 July 2013

Mbava dzevanhu

F Hoko - 25 July 2013

thats pure stealing, how can we have a company that is owned by the ministry of water and the minister not know anything of it, above all we have directors like sam sunguro, nhidza and Jinya wen its a governmental entity. anti corruption commision descend upon these thieves, they fatten their pockets with moneys from such malice. the minister should have been aware and a statutory instrument is supposed to have been made and issued as such. Anti-corruption commission should audit these guys and tinoonerera.

pablo. wako - 25 July 2013

Mbavha, magororo! Voda kuba kwese.

Tambainegidi - 25 July 2013

I think a formal investigation needs to be taken to determine to what extent Zinwa has been short changed by its management over the years cause this is no coincidentl.Good article,well balanced

reader - 25 July 2013

Wumbavha has just taken over our institutions and this is one clear example of its.How does a government body venture into business without its ministry approval.Hmm i smell a rate hear .Lets expose them for the betterment of our country.

mazhida j - 25 July 2013

Hahahahahaha mabatwa ka musati manyatsoluma

shumbac - 25 July 2013

This is 'normal' in zim during the GNU because all ministries that are supposedly under MDC have officials who report elsewhere. I am not surprised that the minister does not know this and yet if you speak to a senior official in the same ministry who has political connections in ZANU-PF the minister will be deemed 'incompetent' because he does not know what is happening in his portfolio!!!! That is Zimbabwe for you as long as one is ZANU-PF then whatever he does that person has no accountability ... I guess these guys are trying to make ZINWA survive under sanctions as is often the argument when fraudsters steal our resources for themselves asnd their cronies

corruption - 25 July 2013

I really do not agree with ,why is it then the senior management is listed as directors of the company ,with a non Zinwa employee as the majority shareholder.To be fair ,panenyaya apa,thats it and some body has to get to the bottom of this.

batatwa - 25 July 2013

Ana Sunguru vabatwa vasati valuma apa

TiliChabebwino - 26 July 2013

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