FORMER Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday avoided parliament’s youth, empowerment and indigenisation portfolio committee as pressure mounts on him to account on shady multi-million dollar indigenisation deals he negotiated when he was still the relevant minister.
Kasukuwere, now Environment minister, was summoned to appear in parliament yesterday by the indigenisation portfolio committee chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Wadyajena to explain the pledges allegedly made by mining companies and to bring “any documentation and agreements regarding pledges made to the Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust”.
The committee also wanted Kasukuwere to clarify the “inconsistencies in the lesser share certificates issued” and to “bring all correspondence to the mining companies” concerning community share ownership trusts.
This follows the denial by four diamond companies at Chiadzwa, namely Mbada Diamonds, Diamond Mining Company, Marange Resources and Anjin Mine, that they entered into written agreements with Kasukuwere obligating them to pay US$10 million each to the Zimunya-Marange share ownership trusts.
The companies said they knew nothing about the trusts while some said Kasukuwere made “a gentleman’s agreement” with some of them, adding that they were not involved in the setting up of the Trust.
The claims by the mining companies were supported by the Minister of Indigenisation Francis Nhema who said the agreements by the miners and Kasukuwere were verbal and there was no written record to support them.
When this was revealed Kasukuwere accused mining companies of lying under oath and went on to produce letters allegedly sent to the companies stating their obligations to the communities.
Following the claims Kasukuwere was summoned to appear before the portfolio committee whose chairperson Wadyajena has been vocal in his oversight role regarding the controversial management of youth funds and operations around government’s community share ownership schemes.
However there was a no-show from Kasukuwere yesterday and the reasons for his failure to turn up where unexplained, with Wadyajena not entertaining any questions from journalists.
Efforts to get comment from Kasukuwere yesterday were futile as a lady who said she was his secretary answered his cellphone and said he was in a series of meetings.
Sources said the portfolio committee was addressed by deputy clerk of parliament Kennedy Chokuda who explained why Kasukuwere could not appear before the committee.