Nieebgate scandal: Mujuru warns looters

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HARARE – Acting President Joice Mujuru has waded into the indigenisation saga which has seen a few politically-connected individuals creaming millions of dollars while the majority suffers.

Mujuru, whom sources say is miffed by the rate at which some of her Zanu PF colleagues and businesspeople are plundering national resources and engaging in self-enrichment under the guise of empowerment, yesterday used a graveside speech to warn against the practice.

She gave the warning while addressing mourners at the burial of Zimbabwe’s envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo, John Mayowe at the National Heroes Acre.

Mayowe succumbed to cancer in South Africa last Saturday and was declared a national hero.

Mujuru sounded the warning bell in the wake of an exposé by our sister paper the Daily News recently on what is now known as the Nieebgate Scandal.

“Let me state that empowerment and indigenisation are not mutually exclusive. We should be practical and flexible enough to know when to emphasise or the other without compromising the thrust of the noble ideological position.

“We need to hold dear our God-given resources so that they can benefit all our people, not just a few individuals,” said Mujuru.

The Daily News has been running a series of stories exposing how indigenisation deals were parcelled out in sweetheart deals that saw companies such as Brainworks Capital getting an advisory role in a multi-million dollar Zimplats takeover deal without going to tender.

Government insiders told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that Mujuru has been briefed about the suspicious deals and is unhappy about the development.  

She is said to be angered by revelations that the deals crafted under the empowerment programmes so far are only benefitting a few individuals while government and the majority of Zimbabweans are not reaping any gains.

The insiders said Mujuru feared the chaos surrounding the deals could undermine the credibility of the programme as well as Zanu PF ahead of watershed elections likely to be held in June.

President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF are touting the programme as the major election campaign tool.

The country’s indigenisation drive, championed by Zanu PF, has turned out to be a massive cash cow for well-heeled and politically-connected elites, as details of massive misrepresentation and grand looting for deal makers emerge.

Brainworks Capital — fronted by former banker George Manyere — is reportedly expected to pocket up to $45 million from the deals and also has under its armpits, indigenisation consultancy deals for six other top-earning companies.

Manyere however, denies that his company stands to pocket $45 million but claims they will “only” get $15 million.

The development has also prompted Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono to summon Kasukuwere, officials from his ministry, indigenisation board members, officials from advisory firms and Nieeb employees where he reportedly tore to pieces the deals facilitated by the consultancy firms.

At one time, Gono reportedly kicked out of his office, Manyere and his team after they failed to produce documents relevant to the investigations.

Manyere refused to comment on how they were appointed and referred the Daily News to Nieeb who appointed them without going through the required tender procedures.

The Daily News also discovered that relevant arms of government and parent ministries of companies being indigenised were not consulted amid indications that the deals were shrouded in secrecy. – Mugove Tafirenyika

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