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Zimbabwe’s 15 billion dollar question

Zimbabwe is still investigating the case of the missing diamonds worth an estimated at $15 billion but this might take a long time because the exercise is being done by the Auditor-general’s office.

This was said in Parliament by Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa when he was asked by Movement for Democratic Change vice-president Nelson Chamisa when he would issue a statement on the missing diamonds.

“That $15 billion is haunting us everywhere,” Chamisa said.

“It is almost like a bad spirit or an evil spirit.

“Are we able to be clear to the nation what has happened as regards that $15 billion?”

Chidhakwa responded: “Let me say that the issue of the $15 billion is an issue of the work that is being done by the Auditor General and the Auditor General and the companies that have been appointed have not yet told us what the outcome of the investigations were.

“Therefore, it is not yet time for me to bring to this House a report on the $15 billion and I entreat the House to be patient.

“I think from the Auditor General’s perspective and her team of people working, it is a matter of great detail.

“Whatever they do must be such that it is unassailable at law, because if it is, she could also be sued for presenting information that is improper. 

“The companies also that have been given the work to do would want to do their work in such a way that it is unassailable at law.”

Norton legislator Temba Mliswa said Chidhakwa had missed the gist of the question.

“I think the issue that Hon. Chamisa brought up was a Ministerial Statement and he can issue it by saying that the Auditor-General’s report is at the issue. 

“What is wrong with issuing a statement? 

“This is an issue which the nation must know and the Minister can equally say that there are investigations going on and the Auditor-General’s Office is seized with this matter and therefore, we shall inform you when the – why can he not issue a statement pertaining to that because the diamond industry is being run like a mafia and it continues to be run that way.

“We need him to issue that statement so that we can hold the Auditor-General accountable.”

When Chidhakwa tried to respond, Mliswa said it wasn’t for him to respond but for the Speaker to make a ruling on whether Chidhakwa should issue a ministerial statement or not.

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