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Minister sucked into gold mine wrangle

THE Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairperson and Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has been sucked into a gold mine ownership wrangle in Chegutu amid reports he could have abused his office to armtwist the David Whitehead Textiles Ltd judicial manager Knowledge Hofisi to grant him a mining consent letter.

This followed reports that Hofisi had initially offered a consent letter to another mining syndicate, Zuvarabuda Empowerment Trust.

The gold war also came at a time First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and her son Collins were fingered in a gold smuggling scandal after the arrest of suspended Zimbabwe Miners Federation boss Henrietta Rushwaya recently.

According to documents at hand, Zuvarabuda was granted permission to create a special purpose vehicle with David Whitehead and Chegutu Municipality for the Mines and Mining Development ministry to grant them a special mining grant.

In a letter dated September 21, 2020 addressed to Zuvarabuda directors, Hofisi wrote: “In our view, to ensure the smooth revival of the company, it is necessary to consent to mining activities as we did in November 2019. This will be mutually beneficial.

“We are, therefore, going to authorise David Whitehead to mine jointly with the Municipality of Chegutu and Zuvarabuda.”

Impeccable sources however, last week claimed Ziyambi had allegedly armtwisted Hofisi to issue another letter on November 5, 2020, to a mining syndicate, Tusk Mining, in which he has interests.

“We have information that Ziyambi is working with Dexter Nduna and Vengai Musengi under Tusk Mining Syndicate. We were shocked to see another letter of consent from Hofisi which also gives Tusk Mining permission to form a special purpose vehicle with David Whitehead,” the source said.

But Hofisi yesterday said: “I am not in office, if we can meet tomorrow (today)… If you can read the letter you are referring to, it can be an internal document consulting one of our directors not those at Zuvarabuda, but the new investor.”

Hofisi also dismissed allegations that he had been armtwisted by Ziyambi, saying: “Our office operates as independent and whatever decisions we make they are independent decisions. So Minister Ziyambi is not involved. What I know is that there might be two groups that want to be given attention on the issue that you are talking about”.

Contacted for a comment, Ziyambi denied any knowledge of the November 5, 2020 letter giving his syndicate permission over the David Whitehead gold claims.

“No comment, bring the documents to me. That is my comment,” Ziyambi curtly said.

The sources, however, alleged that initially Ziyambi, Nduna and Musengi submitted an application to Hofisi under the name NVZ syndicate which was turned down because it had no supporting documents.

“NVZ (initials for their names) syndicate failed to provide all the requisite documents to be awarded a consent letter. It was at this juncture that they thought of seeking a consent letter under Tusk Mining Syndicate,” the source added.

Hofisi, as the judicial manager for David Whitehead, had to consent to all mining operations that would take place on the privately-owned land.

The sources said the gold-rich area had potential to produce between four to six kilogrammes of gold per tonne.

Ironically, the Chegutu West legislator Nduna, who was until recently Ziyambi’s deputy in Zanu PF Mashonaland West province, was demoted to a mere card-carrying member for the next 12 months while Musengi is the province’s youth chair. Ziyambi has recently been in the eye of a storm, over his nasty divorce with wife Florence, a legal adviser in the Office of the President and Cabinet.

In recent weeks, Mashonaland West and Central provinces have seen a massive gold rush with people from all over the country converging to carry out artisanal gold mining operations.

Only last week, police had to deploy anti-riot police in Mazowe after it emerged that artisanal miners were taking over the Mazowe range.

SOURCE- Newsday

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