Africa Moyo Senior Business Reporter
MINES and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando on Tuesday appointed a new seven member board for the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ).
Veteran miner, Mr David Murangari, has been retained as board chairman.
Other notable appointments include Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr Isaac Kwesu, and former Hwange Colliery Company Limited board member Mr Jermister Chininga.
Ms Rose Mukogo, Mr Ignatious Tichivangana, Dr Merch Manyuchi, and Ms Ester Maravanyika.
The appointments are with immediate effect. Minister Chitando implored the board to “hit the ground running” considering that the MMCZ is primed to play a critical role in feeding into the ministry’s vision of making mining one of the “leading contributors to the revival of the country’s economy”.
The mining industry is expected to play a critical role in pushing the country towards achieving President Mnangagwa’s vision 2030 of an upper middle income economy with a per capita income of $3 500.
The MMCZ, which was established through an Act of Parliament — the MMCZ Act Chapter 21:04 — and began operations in March 1983, has been told to “be geared to play its part”.
MMCZ is owned 100 percent by Government and is an exclusive agent for marketing and selling of all minerals produced in the country apart from silver and gold.
The new board has serious challenges relating to whip the parastatal’s managers into line. The State entity has previously been rocked by a litany of allegations grounded on failure to follow the demands of good corporate governance.
Some of the scary allegations included nepotism, fraud, extravagant allowances and collusion with foreign diamond buyers to manipulate the price of local rough diamonds.
While Government was cutting back on unnecessary recurrent expenditure, there were concerns that top MMCZ management helped themselves to housing loans ranging from $28 000 to more than $100 000, depending on the station of the executives, according to a report.
The report alleged the money was never paid back as beneficiaries said they could no longer repay following a downward review of salaries effected by Government on parastatals.
Head honchos were reportedly getting “ridiculous amounts” of fuel allocation per week of 100 litres from 2010 to about 2016, while their kids’ schools fees were covered by the parastatal, never mind the schools they were enrolled.
A whistle-blower also painted a picture of systematic under-invoicing of the country’s diamonds by “inexperienced” evaluators who in turn, receive handsome kickbacks in the form of Indian visas, among other goodies, from unscrupulous buyers.