Govt Spends Millions Paying Marange Diamond Thieves

Now Daily

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The bankrupt Mugabe government, which is failing to pay civil servants regularly, has spent about $3 million paying idle bosses suspended from the state-run Marange Resources Ltd for alleged corruption, it emerged.

The entire Marange Resources top brass was suspended by mines minister Walter Chidakwa in January 2014. Chidakwa ordered an investigation, accusing the parastatal’s management of corruption, including stealing and smuggling diamonds, tender fraud and inflating their pay. The probe’s results have not been published. Under pressure from MPs, the minister had promised to bring the report to Parliament in January 2015 but has not done so.

Auditor-general Margaret Chiri says in her latest report that Marange Resources is going to experience heavy “financial losses due to payment of salaries to non-productive employees”.

“Full salaries were being paid to these managers and as at December 31 2014 a total of $1 166 472 in gross earnings had been recognised in respect of salaries and wages relating to management on special leave,” Chiri said.

Officials confirmed that the seven suspended executives were still on full pay and benefits and their takings had exceeded $3 million since their suspension. The suspended executives include chief executive officer Obert Dube, finance director Nathan Shoko and marketing executive Piri Mukono. Detectives have, so far, failed to link the missing Marange millions to the massive businesses set up by the former diamond bosses. The cops and mines ministry investigators raided some of the businesses, quizzed employees and seized documents.

Dube built an exclusive nightclub and hilltop mansion in Gweru, Shoko is said to hold shares in Makanaka Investments, which owns the three-star Pote Hill Hotel opened by president Robert Mugabe in 2014, while Mukono built a private school.

Marange Resources made a massive loss of more than $50 million in 2014, according to its financial reports.

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