DIAMOND MINERS TO ACCOUNT FOR CONTROVERSIAL MISSING 15 BILLION

Diamond miners from various parts of the country have been summoned to appear before the Mines and Energy Parliamentary Portfolio Committee today, to account for the country’s missing $15 billion diamond revenue.

Committee chairperson Temba Mliswa confirmed the development yesterday.“We want the different mines to give oral evidence before the committee on the $15 billion diamond revenue issue,” said Mliswa, who last week said they were also considering summoning former President Robert Mugabe to account for the diamond revenue which went missing during his tenure.

“Murowa Mine (Rio Zim) has been doing very well, but we would like them to explain how they are selling their diamonds to Antwerp, instead of through Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), “ he said.

Members of the Marange Community Development Trust are also expected to appear before the committee to give oral evidence on how they were affected by their relocation from the mining sites, and the resultant environmental damage caused by diamond mining activities in the area.

Mliswa said Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu would not be summoned again to give oral evidence after he declined to cooperate with the committee when he was being interrogated over the matter two weeks ago.

He said his committee was angered by Mpofu’s conduct and would soon report him to the Clerk of Parliament, Kennedy Chokuda, so the minister could be charged with contempt of Parliament.

“We have already given a chance to Mpofu and he refused to respond to our questions. He also failed to give any reasons why he wanted me to be recused. As Parliament we have rules that guide us when we invite a witness to give oral evidence before us.

“Mpofu was called and he refused to say anything, and so we have gone back to our Standing Rules and Orders which have about 20 rules about the behaviour of witnesses that appear before Parliament. We have agreed as a committee that we use those rules to charge Mpofu with contempt of Parliament,” Mliswa said.

Mpofu declined to respond to questions directed at him, demanding that Mliswa recuse himself from chairing the proceedings.

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