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Suspended Zimbabwe Mining Execs Said to Have Played Money Market

  • Gibbs Dube

Banking sector sources said the executives, accused of looting US$40 million in gold and diamond proceeds, used part of the money to invest in fixed-return securities

Four executives of the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation accused of diverting tens of millions of dollars in mineral receipts are said to have invested some US$9 million in the Harare money market even as related state-controlled firms were in collapse.

Banking sector sources said the executives, accused of looting US$40 million in gold and diamond proceeds, used part of the money to invest in fixed-return securities.

The sources said various sums were invested at Interfin Bank, Fidelity Asset Management, Kingdom Bank, Premier Asset Management and Premier Bank between March and April of this year.

They said ZMDC Chief Executive Dominic Mubayiwa, Finance Director Robert Karemba, Group Technical Services Manager Albert Chitambo and Corporate Secretary Tichaona Muhonde made the investments while some state-controlled mines were closing for lack of operating capital.

Economist James Wade said the four could have realized huge profits as Harare money market interest rates are considerably higher than in most of the world.

Economic commentator Bekithemba Mhlanga said the investments allegedly made by the executives were relatively risk-free as the funds were put into bank money market instruments.

Elsewhere, Shabanie-Mashaba Mines owner Mutumwa Mawere said government has not yet returned his asbestos mining property though he was released from so-called specification two months ago for allegedly having illegally moved foreign currency offshore without state approval in 2006.

Mawere said he is in touch with the government on the return of his assets, but said he has had no encouragement. But critics said Mawere should not expect the return of his industrial assets as he has been dumped by former ZANU-PF cronies now focused on business indigenization.

Sources said his assets continue to be held under the Reconstruction of State Indebted and Insolvent Companies Act. The state administrator of Shabanie-Mashaba Mines, Afaras Gwaradzimba, said recently that reorganization of the mines would continue despite Mawere's despecification.

Mawere told VOA reporter Gibbs Dube he wants his assets back even if he remains abroad.

Economic commentator Walter Nsununguli Mbongolwane said Mawere has no reason to cry foul as he was part of the ZANU-PF apparatus that brought about the collapse of the economy.

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