By Joyce Mukucha
As the people of Zimbabwe seek clarity on the reported missing US$15 billion, a government official said Parliament will address the unanswered questions or the controversies around the issue.
This was said during a discussion which focused on the question: “Where did the US415 billion go?”
The dialogue was held at Meikles Hotel on the 23rd of January 2018 where Themba Mliswa, the Member of the House of Assembly for Norton Constituency was the guest of honour while Farai Maguwu, the Director of the Centre for Natural Resources Governance moderated. The anchor was Farai Mwakutuya, the ZiFM Stereo presenter.
Speaking during the dialogue, Mliswa said it was everyone’s role to find out the story regarding the issue of the US$15 billion.
“As an elected legislator, I must carry out my duties without fear or favour and I therefore urge citizens and institutions to investigate in their capacity. I am sure together we can work our way out of this and restore our country’s economy,” he said.
The legislator said in the new dispensation everything had changed and Parliament was committed to stand on behalf of the people. So far, letters have been written to the suspected criminals to come and appear before the mines committee.
“As Parliament, we are thoroughly investigating so as to respond to the question, ‘Where did the US$15 Billion go?’. The people of Zimbabwe need to have patience and give us time to work on everything that raises their eyebrows. It is our duty and role to work on issues of corruption like these ones. We want zero tolerance to corruption and what is important is to learn from what happened earlier so that it cannot be repeated in the new dispensation,” said Mliswa.
Maguwu said the people who are investing in Zimbabwe through mining are overprotected and that leads to corruption and unfair treatment of the citizens.
“When we talk of the mining operation in Mbada Diamonds, there are private unknown investors who have a 50-50 shareholding with our government. Those investors treat Zimbabweans as animals so I urge President Emmerson Mnangagwa to address such issues to ensure that citizens are treated with dignity,” he said.
He said the stolen US$15 billion is a big issue which needs the United Nations to intervene for the crime committed leads to the destruction of the nation.
“There must be justice in as far as the issue of US$15 billion is concerned. Now the economy is collapsing and people are suffering, we cannot afford to pay school fees for our children and we cannot access quality health services.
“There are statements which reveal that Zimbabwe was robbed of its minerals and the records need to be traced to figure out those countries our diamonds are scattered,”Maguwu said.
The human rights activist added that cases about what happened to former Parlaimentary mines commitee chairperson Chindori Chininga, Marange Resources and Mbada Diamonds. He bemoaned that the people of Chiadzwa were swimming in poverty despite the promises which the government gave but were not yet fulfilled. The former workers of Mbada Diamonds were not paid their terminal benefits since their licences were terminated.
He said Zimbabwe could have lost more than US$15 Billion worth of diamonds. Maguwu said the Chindori Chininga report needed more recommendations.
Some participants suggested that there was need for “Operation Restore Legacy” in as far as the issue of exact figures of money are concerned. The citizens added that countries suspected to have raided Zimbabwe of its natural resources must be exposed.
In response, Mliswa said if the former president was impeached then nobody else would be untouchable and he assured the citizens that measures would be put in place to trace and catch the criminals.
Other participants who attended the discussion queried Obert Mpofu’s wealth. Mliswa concurred that the former mines Minister Mpofu owed the citizens an explanation on how he made his riches so that he become the role model for the Zimbabwe’s wealth creation drive.