Wednesday, October 09, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Mugabe accuses ZMDC chief of $6m fraud
17/09/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Tuesday demanded the arrest of top officials at a state-owned company involved in diamond mining at Marange, accusing them of fleecing prospective investors of about US$6 million.

Mugabe made the shock revelation at a dinner which followed his address at the official opening of the 8th Parliament in which he vowed to clampdown against corruption.

According to state radio, Mugabe said the ZMDC management team, led by chairman Goodwills Masimirembwa, told a Ghanaian investor who wanted to invest in the local mining to transfer to them about US$6 million.

Once the money was transferred, the ZMDC team allegedly asked for further payments in cash and then warned the Ghanaian against coming to the country telling him he would be arrested.

“They asked the Ghanaians to transfer US$6 million for the deal and then asked for another amount which did not come through the formal transaction but as cash and that amount is still unaccounted for. And this is being done by our people! Such naked corruption cannot go unpunished,” the ZBC quoted Mugabe as saying.

The Zanu PF leader said the then mines minister Obert Mpofu only became aware of the scandal when met the Ghanaian in New York.

Quizzed by Mpofu over the issue, Masimirembwa is said to have claimed that the investor could not come to Zimbabwe to follow-up on the deal because police wanted to arrest him.

The claim was denied by ZRP bosses resulting in the Ghanain travelling to Zimbabwe.

“He (the investor) then came through Bulawayo and was met there by the minister (Mpofu), the Police Commissioner General and Masimirembwa’s team, and the Minister asked Masimirembwa to explain his position and he could not,” Mugabe said.

“This is not acceptable in our country and if this is what we are, then damn us - let the law damn us.”

Mugabe did not say when the scam was carried out but Masimirembwa and the company’s top management remain in their jobs.

The ZMDC holds a 50 percent stake in several mining operations in diamond-rich Marange on behalf of the government.

Company management has repeatedly insisted the country wasnot benefiting from the diamonds because of sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU)

The EU however, said Tuesday that the company would be removed from its sanctions list.

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