PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has never been sincere on fighting corruption and should be the last person to talk about graft as he has allowed it to thrive, former war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda has said.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Sibanda told Southern Eye in an interview last week that Mugabe had failed to act on several Cabinet ministers, whose corrupt activities had been exposed by whistleblowers, including former South African President Thabo Mbeki.
Mugabe said he once received a complaint from Mbeki that unnamed Zimbabwean ministers had demanded bribes of up to $10 million from South Africa’s African National Congress-linked companies keen on investing in the mining sector.
“During the Gweru conference (in 2012), Mugabe said any minister fingered in corruption, as reported by Mbeki, will not be a member of the next government,” Sibanda said.
“We were moving towards elections and as you know after elections, a new Cabinet is sworn in. He did not say, ‘I will constitute and institute a commission of inquiry to investigate the allegations coming from a person in the level of a president’. He did not say the police are going to investigate those ministers, since names had been given. He did not say those people are going to prison and their property is going to be confiscated.”
Sibanda also doubted Mugabe’s sincerity when he lamented the $15 billion losses in expected diamond revenues during his traditional 21st February Movement interview with the State media early this month.
Mugabe claimed Treasury received less than $2 billion in diamond revenue despite earning $15 billion because of the “failure by those he had assigned to supervise mining of the mineral”.
“Poor controls solicit crime. What about ignored controls? They encourage crime. They open doors for quality crime and these are the weakness that is in the leading personnel in our country. Because of that, corruption has assumed different levels and better qualities.
“Mugabe said we lost $15 billion, but I beg to differ. I think that is the least we could have expected. You then ask, was there no customs, was there no ministry . . ?” Sibanda added.
Former Finance minister Tendai Biti, during the era of the inclusive government, had raised the red flag on several occasions about diamond revenues that were not finding their way to State coffers, but was ignored.