By Robert Tapfumaneyi
TEN officials with the Mines Ministry have been suspended over allegations of corruption and related malpractices in the awarding and administration of mining claims.
Addressing a press conference in Harare Friday, Mines Minister Winston Chitando said the suspensions were with immediate effect.
Two are surveyors from Mashonaland West, one is a director while seven are technical staff members from Mashonaland Central Provincial mining offices.
Chitando said the officials were suspended after his office had received numerous complaints from stakeholders and ordinary people over awarding and managing of mining claims.
“The Ministry of Mines and Mining development has been seized with a lot of complaints from stakeholders over service delivery especially from its provincial offices,” Chitando told journalists at a press briefing.
“As a result and in line with ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ mantra and in line with the thrust for zero tolerance of corruption by HE President Mnangagwa, the Ministry has been and will investigate all complaints, malpractices by its staff.
“Such investigations have resulted in the suspension of surveyors at its Mashonaland West provincial mining office.
“Similar investigations have resulted simultaneous suspension of duty today 5 July 2019 at most of the technical staff at Mashonaland Central Provincial office including the provincial mining director.
“These suspensions have been done to pave way for thorough investigations.
“Following the suspension of the several technical staff today at Mashonaland Central provincial office, it has become necessary to suspend all services offered by that offices with effect from lunch time today (5th July 2019) until end of day Wednesday 10th July 2019 to allow the Ministry to allow the Ministry put in place measures to enable sound service delivery while investigations are in progress.”
He added, “During this period from midday today until end of day Wednesday 10 July 5, 2019, a minimum skeleton staff will be manning the office to attend to any urgent issues which may arise from stakeholders.”
Chitando also apologised to mining stakeholders for any inconveniences, which may be caused by the temporary suspension of services.
“But I would like to assure all that this is being done in the public interest.
“The Ministry would like to further assure all stakeholders that all cases of malpractices will be fully investigated and the necessary corrective action taken.