Parliament backed down Monday from its demand for former president Robert Mugabe to answer questions related to diamond mining operations during his time in office.

In what would have been his first public appearance since being ousted last November, parliament had wanted to question Mugabe about his claim that the state had been deprived of at least $15 billion in revenue by mining companies operating in the eastern Marange diamond fields.

The legislative committee’s pursuit of Mugabe had been condemned by a fledgling opposition party linked to the veteran leader.

Mugabe had twice failed to appear before the Temba Mliswa chaired mines committee of parliament and was given a final chance to do so on Monday.

However, the committee said in a statement it had now recused the 94-year-old former leader after consultations with the Speaker.

The committee did not give any more details.

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