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minister, Chidhakwa offered bribes
Tagwireyi, The Standard (Zimbabwe)
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa has revealed
that he was approached by private sector players, including mining
companies, offering him bribes to facilitate deals.
Eight weeks after assuming
the powerful position, the minister revealed that corruption was
rife in the sector and, in the short space of time he had been in
office, some corrupt elements had already approached him seeking
to grease his palms.
He would not reveal
their identity only preferring to say: “I can’t tell
you what transpired but what I can tell you is that the private
sector approaches many people.
“The issue of
corruption should not be viewed only from the recipient of the bribe,
it must also be seen from the perspective of the giver as they are
both corrupt, but I was approached.”
Chidhakwa said this
on the sidelines of a Netherlands embassy-organised roundtable discussion
on natural resources on Wednesday.
When pressed to reveal
the identity of the culprits that had dangled bribes to him, Chidhakwa
said he was not at liberty to discuss with the media what had transpired
between him and the “corrupt mining companies.”
The revelations by Chidhakwa
lend credence to allegations by President Robert Mugabe and civil
society organisations that corruption especially in the awarding
of contracts was rife in the mining sector.
In September, President
Mugabe made sensational claims that former Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation (ZMDC) board chairman Godwills Masimirembwa had demanded
a US$6 million bribe from a Ghanaian investor.
William Ato Essien, is in a joint venture with ZMDC and police in
Gye Nyame Resources, a diamond
producer in Marange. No action has been taken against Masimirembwa.
Civil society organisation
say the awarding of mining contracts in Marange diamond fields was
shrouded in mystery amid fears that chefs were benefitting from
Former Finance minister
Tendai Biti complained that diamond revenue was not reaching Treasury
despite producers selling the gems.
In a pre-budget seminar
recently, it was revealed that out of a targeted US$40 million expected
from diamond sales, nothing had been received as at September 2013.
Chidhakwa said President
Mugabe told him he had a tough task ahead in his new job as Mines
told me that there is a task ahead to ensure that things are done
in a certain manner that requires me to stand firm and every task
has its own uphills and I should also live up to the expectations
of the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
In a bid to promote
transparency, Chidhakwa said the ministry would engage small-scale
miners as part of the initiative so that their interactions could
yield meaningful developments.
“We proposed to
them that they should come up with an umbrella union so that we
engage in dialogue with their official representatives who will
then pass on the information to the grassroots, rather than have
different small groups dialoguing with us and yet passing on the
same information,” he said.
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