TRANSPORT minister Obert Mpofu has washed his hands in the ongoing probe of the Marange-Zimunya Share Ownership Trust telling the Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Youth and Indigenisation that he was not involved in the negotiations for the deal.
Mpofu, a former Mines minister, said all negotiations to do with community share ownership trusts, and in particular the Marange-Zimunya one, were handled by the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.
He said this yesterday while appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Youth and Indigenisation chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena.
The committee had summoned Mpofu to explain his involvement in the setting-up of community share ownership schemes and why he did not attend the launch of the scheme in 2013 presided over by President Robert Mugabe and the then Indigenisation minister, Saviour Kasukuwere.
“My version is that, that policy was being administered by the Minister of Indigenisation, as you may be aware, from a policy view,” he said.
“We all agreed with the indigenisation policy, but the implementation part and this particular item… the community share ownership trust was being administered by the relevant ministry, in this case being that of Youth and Indigenisation.”
The committee has so far summoned mining firms, the Marange community and the former ministers of Indigenisation Francis Nhema and Kasukuwere as well as officials from the Mines and Indigenisation ministries.
Mpofu said he did not attend the launch for reason he could not state, but was not sure if he was invited by Kasukuwere.
Mpofu appeared evasive in his presentation opting to say: “I have no recollection, I can’t remember.”
He also said he had no correspondence from mining firms or his then counterpart with regard to the community share ownership trusts and if they existed, his successor, Walter Chidakwa, must produce them.
Mimosa and Zimplats mining groups also appeared before the committee to explain how they engaged Brainworks Capital during the negotiations for the establishment of community share ownership trusts and the entire indigenisation process.
Alex Mhembere representing Zimplats and Winstone Chitando on behalf of Mimosa said they refused to pay the financial advisory firm that had been engaged by government through the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB).
The two firms told the committee that Brainworks billed them over $19 million in total for the advisory services it rendered to NIEEB and they refused to pay because they had no contractual obligations with the firm, instead government should have paid the group.