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US$20K diamond ‘carrot’ haunts Vast Resources

HARARE – By The News Editor – Tuesday 5 May 2020

HARARE (Mining Index) – AIM LISTED, Vast Resources Enterprises (VRE) is being haunted by a US$20 000 transaction made under questionable circumstances towards implementation of community based projects under the Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT).

The transaction was done from Vast Resources PLC United Kingdom (UK) Barclays Bank account, into the CCDT FBC Bank account in December 2019.

The Marange community, including chief Mukungauta Marange and other CCDT board members and trustees say the US$20 000 transaction remains a mystery to them as they ‘only heard through grapevine that funds were donated by Vast for community development which was never done.’

Newman Chiadzwa, CMR/CCDT chairman and Trymore Chiadzwa who is the CCDT treasurer are said to be the two signatories to the CCDT bank account.

“The money was distributed amongst Newman Chiadzwa, Pritchard Dube and Shumba. Nothing was channelled towards community projects,” revealed one community member who requested not to be named.

However, some community members privy to the transactions say Newman Chiadzwa withdrew the donated funds in batches of US$1 000-00.

Prichard Dube is a director of CMR although he is not a member of the Marange community. The third man to have allegedly received the funds only identified as Shumba is also said to be director of the second CMR, which is alleged to have been forged.

In minutes of a meeting held on 14 June 2019, Vast said they would ‘immediately give the community 10 percent of the initial capital investment ahead of project implementation for investment into the community based master plan.’

Vast Resources diamond subsidiary in Zimbabwean Executive Director Mark Mabhudhu commented;

“Prior to Christmas 2019 Vast contributed by way of contract to the CCDT and advanced a sum for community based projects to the tune of US$20 000. The said document is available for your perusal at our offices,”

“Please note that in accordance with the JV agreement the money was to be deposited into CCDT (The Trust) and not in an individual’s account,”

“Vast concluded the Katanga JV agreement with the community in accordance to the instructions of the Government of Zimbabwe”

Within the agreement, there was a commitment by Vast Resources to implement community based work programs for the community via the community trust (CCDT) of 10 percent of the initial Capital spent of the project.”

The ministry of Mines and Mining Development issued the Marange community with an approval letter to enable them to enter into a relationship with the investor of their choice. The letter was issued under Chiadzwa Mineral resources (CMR) which is owned by the Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT).

Formed in 2009, CCDT is the first trust to represent the interests of the Chiadzwa and the entire Marange community where every member of the Marange community is a natural member of the Trust.

During the search for an investor, the community found Vast Resources PLC as the most suitable partner on the strength of their community focussed strategy which resonated well with the community development master plan.

The CCDT board members and trustees say they were surprised how their ‘investor of choice’ was not properly communicating with, and accounting for financial resources aimed at community development.

The Marange community felt the investor should have practiced due diligence by informing relevant CCDT stakeholders to foster accountability and transparency.

“Whenever a project is proposed, any funding is supposed to be withdrawn (from the bank) after obtaining three quotations from different suppliers. The quotations should have been submitted and approved by the board members and trustees in a meeting and minutes of the meeting done. Nothing like that happened and it shows the money was for bribery to Newman Chiadzwa and his ghost community members,” said the source.

Asked whether VRE shared a copy of the transfer to the chief, who is the head of the Marange community, Mabhudhu had not responded at the time of publishing.

He had also not responded to questions on whether Vast Resources, as a listed entity, has done audit checks to ascertain if the donated funds had been channelled towards their intended use for the benefit of the community, guided by the community strategic master plan which is ready for implementation.

According to the source, ‘projects in the master plan are approved by the community but whenever the Trust receives the money, they seat as a board of trustees for approval of the project to be done at a particular time.’

Two of Vast Resources local directors, Andrew Prelea and William Marberly are still African Consolidated Resources (ACR) shareholders who were booted out of the Chiyadzwa, together with Andrew Cranswick. Prelea and Marberly however bounced back into the Zimbabwean diamond scene through Vast Resources. ENDS//

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