Mberengwa Community Share Ownership Trust (MCSOT) officials are accused of abusing part of the $3 million donation that mining giant Mimosa Mining Company had set aside for them as part of their commitment to the Community Share Ownership Scheme that was initiated by government in 2010.
The Zim Morning Post has it on good authority that the MCSOT was supposed to get $3 million for developmental projects in the community and the leader of the Trust, Chief Chingoma Micklot Dziva, and his executive irregularly awarded their own company a tender to build an office and inflated prices prejudicing the Trust of close to $300 000.
“What happened is Mimosa decided to give the Trust money in batches because they had already done other developmental projects in Mberengwa like road rehabilitation and drilling boreholes. So from the $3million set aside for Mberengwa Rural District, Mimosa advanced $300 000 last year and the Trust’s CEO blew the money and the purported construction of offices. That was last year and up to now the office is still incomplete and the funds were exhausted,” revealed our source.
MIMOSA Mining company managing director Fungai Makoni could not be reached for comment by the time of publication on Wednesday as his mobile phone was switched off.
This development exposes the rampant abuse of the community share ownership scheme where the intended beneficiaries did not benefit.
The aim of the scheme was for government to rope in development partners and non-governmental organisations to finance key social programmes in a country with the second largest known platinum reserves in the world.
When the government launched the first community share ownership scheme under the economic empowerment policy, it was applauded for championing upliftment of the underpriviledged in society but the results were a complete negation of the cause as it fattened pockets of top officials.
Platinum giant Zimplats, set a good precedent for foreign-owned mining companies when it surrendered a 10% stake to the Ngezi community last year.
They were to be followed by the likes of Unki Mine and in 2011 former President Robert Mugabe launched the Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust where funds are also believed to have been looted with villagers benefiting little or nothing.
Mugabe pledged $1,5 million towards the opening of a bank account for the trust but the movement and distribution of those funds still remains shrouded in mystery.
The community share ownership trust in Shurugwi was used to reconstruct a dam, a mortuary and a maternity waiting ward.
Despite evidence and indications of abuse of the trust funds, government has defended the scheme and argued that the set up had no room for leakages.
“The trusts are composed of a chief executive officer of the rural district council, a district administrator, a lawyer, an accountant, special interest groups and a company representative from mining entity.
“The trusts are audited by external auditors. We do not expect things to go unchecked,” revealed a senior government official.