MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has called for a Parliamentary investigation into the country’s indigenisation programme saying he was concerned about allegations of gross irregularities and claims only a few individuals were profiting from the deals.
Tsvangirai’s party has long opposed the programme claiming it does not address the country’s unemployment crisis in addition to scaring away much-needed foreign investment. But the MDC-T leader said Monday that allegations some of the deals may have prejudiced the country warranted a Parliamentary probe.
“I am concerned about the possibility of a few individuals benefitting from a programme purportedly meant for the majority of the Zimbabweans,” Tsvangirai said in a statement.
“I am equally concerned with reports that some relevant Government organs were kept in the dark about the full nature of some of these transactions.”
Tsvangirai’s call follows a scathing attack on Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono by Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo who accused the central bank chief of working with the MDC-T to undermine President Robert Mugabe’s re-election campaign.
Zimbabwe is due to hold fresh polls later this year and Zanu PF has centred its campaign on the empowerment programme which forces foreign companies transfer to locals control and majority ownership of their operations.
Leading mining firms, among them platinum majors Implats and Amplats, and a host of other foreign companies have already agreed compliance deals with the government in an exercise spearheaded by Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere who now says he will target the banking sector next.
But allegations of irregularities in the main deal - Zimplats’ US$750 million transaction - as well as reports a single Harare firm is pocketing millions from advising on nearly all the arrangements, having been handed the contract without going to tender, have raised eyebrows.
“Only a proper investigation will expose the truth about what happened and whether or not the State and the people of Zimbabwe were prejudiced in any way and whether all procedures and statutes were followed,” Tsvangirai said.
“It is therefore imperative and in the interest of transparency that Parliament through its relevant committees should probe this matter.”
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, also warned that an MDC-T government would review and possibly cancel all the indigenisation agreements, along with diamond mining concessions at Marange.
“The MDC … will revisit and review all clandestine and incestuous agreements made at night and in secret. We will not legitimise such agreements,” Biti told a campaign meeting in his Harare East constituency over the weekend.
“The MDC wants to know how many jobs each company will create. We want value addition on our raw materials thus creating jobs. Let platinum be used to make cars in our country, so that our children will have jobs in here.
“Right now, we do not know what is happening to our diamonds. We are going to audit all the diamond income, to trace where the money came from and went to.
“We are watching these things. The people of Zimbabwe are watching. White collar crimes will cannot be hidden because there will always be an audit trail.”