Missing $15bn diamond revenue: Parliament ‘shields’ Mugabe, says report

Zimbabwe's former President Robert Mugabe arrives for the extraordinary session of the African Union's Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the case of African Relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC), in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, October 12, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
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The Zimbabwean parliament appears to be “shielding” former president Robert Mugabe from appearing before a Mines and Energy Parliamentary Portfolio Committee investigating the looting and loss of diamond revenue amounting to $15 billion.

Mugabe was expected to appear before the committee after he told state media in 2016 during an interview to mark his birthday that Zimbabwe had lost over $15 billion in gem revenues through corrupt cartels that he did not name.

But according to News Day, Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda reportedly vetoed the decision to summon him.

“As a committee, we resolved that Mugabe should be summoned to explain himself. We recommended to the administrators of Parliament that they wrote a letter inviting Mugabe to appear before the committee, but it now seems the letter was never written.

“We have heard that, instead, the Speaker (Mudenda) had advised against the move to summon Mugabe. Mudenda is said to have had reservations and the matter seems to have died a natural death on his desk,” one of the committee members was quoted as saying.

Temba Mliswa, who headed the committee, indicated last week that the clerk of parliament had not written to Mugabe, 94, to invite him to appear before it.

Mliswa said this had led to the hearing being postponed to a date yet to be decided by the clerk of parliament.

“It has been delayed but that resolution still stands,” Mliswa was quoted as saying. “He will have to appear before the committee whether he likes it or not.”

The committee has already interviewed former ministers, police and intelligence chiefs to answer on diamond mining operations at the vast Chiadzwa gem fields.

Zimbabwe discovered alluvial diamonds in Chiadzwa, in the east of the country, over 10 years ago, and rights groups have accused security forces of using brutal methods to control the scattered deposits.