Mugabe keeps Parly guessing

HARARE - Former President Robert Mugabe, not for the first time, failed to appear in Parliament yesterday where he had been summoned to explain the missing $15 billion diamond revenue from the gem-rich Marange fields.

In 2016, Mugabe made startling claims that his government could not account for a jaw-dropping $15 billion that was allegedly lost through nefarious activities by players involved in the extraction of the gems in Marange.

The frail nonagenarian had been, for the second time, summoned to appear before the Mines and Energy portfolio committee to give evidence on his claims on $15 billion, which happened during his time as the country’s leader.

Mugabe was not present as the committee met to start the hearing at 9:00 am.

Speaking after two hours of deliberations, committee chairperson Temba Mliswa said the committee decided to postpone the meeting to Monday.

“In view of the time we have resolved that we will write to the former president to appear before us on Monday at 1400 hours, the committee is cognisant of the fact that nine o’clock was a bit too early to ask the former president, you should appreciate that when he was in office he would start Cabinet at 12 o’clock, we are not here to humiliate him,” said Mliswa.

At the height of the mining of diamonds, Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Anjin Investments, Diamond Mining Company, Kusena and Gye Nyame were some of the companies which were involved in the extraction of the gems in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).

The mining companies’ licences were not renewed after Mugabe made a claim that $15 billion had not been remitted to Treasury during the period the firms were mining in Marange.

In 2012, long before Mugabe alleged that the $15 billion had been spirited away, a watchdog group campaigning against “blood” diamonds had also released a damning report in which it alleged that more than $2 billion worth of diamonds had been stolen from the Marange fields.

And in a controversial move, the government subsequently replaced the mining companies with the State-owned ZCDC, which now exclusively carries out all the mining in the area.

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