Zimbabwean Industry Minister Obert Mpofu shocked members of parliament and the public Wednesday when he disclosed that he had urged Anti-Corruption Minister Paul Mangwana not to publish a damning report on the collapse of a deal with an Indian firm to relaunch the Zimbabwean Iron and Steel Company, or pursue charges.
Those familiar with the report, issued by the Finance Ministry, said it details demands for share participation in the joint venture made to the Indian concern, demands that ultimately led Global Infrastructure, an affiliate of Mittal, to pull out of the deal.
Mpofu's testimony flew in the face of pledges by President Robert Mugabe to root out corruption and pursue “economic saboteurs and enemies" of an economic recovery.
Mpofu acknowledged in testimony before a parliamentary committee on industry and trade that the report implicates ministers, parliamentarians and top ZISCO managers. The officials are alleged to have engaged in schemes including under-invoicing and other abuses of company resources. Mpofu told parliament that disclosure of the abuses would scare away other potential foreign investors in the company.
Anti-Corruption Minister Mangwana told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Harare was acting like any “responsible government” in limiting the circulation of negative information that might affect state economic interests.
But Goodwill Shana, Chairman of Transparency International Zimbabwe said Harare's efforts to cover up the corruption at ZISCO will hurt the country even more.