By Zvamaida Murwira
Former President Robert Mugabe is expected to give oral evidence tomorrow before a parliamentary portfolio committee on diamond leakages at Chiadzwa, which he indicated in 2016 as pegged at $15 billion.
The decision to summon the former Head of State and Government follows a claim he made in February 2016 that the country could have been prejudiced of over $15 billion in unrealised diamond revenue from Chiadzwa.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy chaired by Norton MP Mr Temba Mliswa (Independent) set tomorrow to hear evidence from Mr Mugabe who resigned in November pending impeachment proceedings against him.
“A letter was written and delivered to him last week. We now expect him to come. While his office has not yet confirmed, that is not a legal requirement but is usually done out of courtesy.
“The most important thing is that we have discharged our obligation, we have summoned him,” said Mr Mliswa.
He said the inquiry was not a witch-hunt, but was aimed at getting the truth on the utilisation of national resources.
“The committee was of the view that we might even hold the meeting at his residence considering his age. It was just an alternative view that we were suggesting,” he said.
A source at Parliament however, shot down the proposal to hold the meeting at Mr Mugabe’s Blue Roof residence in Harare.
“The letter inviting him was delivered on Thursday last week. That suggestion to hold the meeting at his residence is not supported by any law or Standing Order. That would be unprecedented and not permissible. It would set a bad precedent hence we will not allow that,” said a Parliament staffer.
“The fact that Mr Mugabe has not confirmed his attendance is not of any consequence to us. It is not a legal requirement but done out of courtesy. He might even pitch up without confirming and that has happened several witnesses in respect of other committees. We will however, further make inquiries tomorrow (Thursday,) but we can confirm that we delivered the invitation last Thursday,” said the source.
Parliament has since indicated on its committee schedule the pending appearance of Mr Mugabe.
“Subject to confirmation, oral evidence from His Excellency, the former president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, comrade R. G. Mugabe, on diamond mining revenues,” read the notice posted yesterday.
The committee has since held meetings with several other stakeholders regarding diamond extraction at Chiadzwa before Government consolidated the mining firms into one firm.
Some of the entities that have since given evidence include the former Minister of Mines, Walter Chidhakwa, former permanent secretaries of the ministry, Professor Francis Gudyanga and Prince Mupazhiriho, former Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatious Chombo.
Other entities include Zimbabwe Republic Police, Central Intelligence Organisation, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, Minerals Marketing and Corporation of Zimbabwe, among others.