Missing $15 billion looters face probe
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said Government had launched a forensic audit of seven firms that operated in the Chiadzwa diamond fields amid suspicion that the country could have lost $15 billion through leakages.
President Mugabe in February said Government had not received meaningful returns from Chiadzwa diamond fields and that private companies mining could have robbed the State.
The President said less than $2 billion was remitted from diamond proceeds and those seconded by Government to work with private miners had failed to account for the gems.
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“We’ve not received much from the diamond industry at all. I don’t think we’ve exceeded $2 billion, yet we think more than $15 billion has been earned,” President Mugabe said in an interview on the occasion of his birthday.
Speaking during a Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Business Conference plenary in response to a question, VP Mnangagwa said: “You said there was $15 billion stolen. What it then says is that there’s an investigation, where there’s investigation there’s an allegation, and where there’s an allegation there’s a prima facie case, there’s a possibility that the thing happened.
“You properly said there is $15 billion which is being investigated, which means the issue of $15 billion is under investigation, using your own terms, to establish whether it actually happened and if it did, that is corruption.”
He added: “And up to now, that hasn’t been concluded. There were something like seven companies and each company will be subjected to a forensic audit to establish during the past five or six years, what it did. A forensic audit on each company will be done.
“A forensic audit has been instituted against all the seven companies. They will be audited to discover whether this happened or not, and those who will be found through the forensic audit will account for the resource they have stolen from this country, that becomes a fact. That is the essence about the $15 billion question.” VP Mnangagwa told the same forum that all Zimbabweans should join in the fight against corruption and not just talk about it.
He was responding to Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) board member, Mr Nelson Matongorere, who said the VP had not spoken about corruption in his keynote address.
“I understand the question on corruption has come from Zimra and I think my brother, if the people seated here are honest with you, during tea time, they will discuss with you the corruption perception about Zimra,” chuckled VP Mnangagwa.
He said Matongorere’s comment created a perception that Government could be involved in corruption.
“I don’t dispute it, but you’re excluding the private sector. My view is that corruption wherever it raises its ugly head must be fought and not talked about. We must cease talking about corruption but fight corruption.
“We want to hear ministers here with me, including myself, permanent secretaries, directors in the Government, whenever they have an opportunity, they should talk about the fight against corruption.
“I would like also to say captains of industry, whenever they have an opportunity, to talk to their companies and the people, they should fight corruption, not only speak against it but fight it.”
VP Mnangagwa said if all Zimbabweans took a stand against corruption, the scourge would be wiped out.
“Yes, we had an anti-corruption commission which we have dissolved because we now needed another team or commission to investigate the commissioners that are leaving. We instituted another one two months ago and I believe their focus is fighting it (corruption) and we shall continue to monitor whether they continue fighting it,” he said.
“Let it not be a duty of Government alone, but let it be a duty for all of us who love our country to expose corruption wherever we see it, wherever we hear about it, let’s fight it.”
“So my brother from Zimra, perhaps you’re not very sociable otherwise you’ll be hearing what the people have to say about Zimra. I have no evidence, but I hear about those things so it’s good that you raised this issue.”