By Tendai Mugabe and Obey Manayiti
Zanu PF has suspended its Manicaland provincial chairperson Mike Madiro and four other senior officials on allegations of fraud and corruption involving over US$700 000 reportedly collected from diamond mining firms in Chiadzwa.
They reportedly collected the money on the pretext that it was meant for party activities. However, Madiro denies the charges, saying his hands were clean.
The other affected officials are youth provincial chairperson Tawanda Mukodza, youth provincial secretary for administration Mubuso Chinguno, youth provincial secretary for security Admire Mahachi and former Mutare Urban district co-ordinating committee chairperson Clever Mparutsa.
Zanu-PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa confirmed the suspensions yesterday. He said the party’s Presidium met at State House on Thursday and resolved to suspend the five officials pending police investigations.
Mutasa said the suspended members would no longer be allowed to conduct any party activities until the matter is finalised. He also dispatched suspension letters to the five yesterday.
In one of the letters, the Zanu-PF secretary for adminstration said the Presidium resolved to suspend the officials “with immediate effect from carrying any duties or activities in the name of the party . . .”
“This is in light of the current investigations being conducted by the ZRP into allegations of fraud, corruption, theft, embezzlement, or dishonesty that have been levelled against you.
“By copy of this letter, therefore, you are hereby so suspended with immediate effect without prejudice to any due processes that may ensue in line with the constitution of the party.”
The party’s provincial vice chairperson Dorothy Mabika would be the acting chairperson until the matter was resolved.
Madiro was in 2004 suspended from the party for allegedly participating in an illegal meeting at Dinyane Primary School in Tsholotsho to discuss party leadership. Madiro last night said everything that he had was out of his hard work.
“I challenge anyone to prove that surely I have embezzled the funds. In any case, I have worked hard for the party in Manicaland and this is the reward that I am getting,” he said.
Madiro said there were political games behind the allegations. He said there was a plot to assassinate his character.
“I have been quiet for long and while I was being vilified, I reserve the right to take legal action to protect my character. I heard the police is investigating (the issue), let them do their investigations, but I know the truth shall set me free.
“I call those doing the investigations to speed up the process without fear or favour.”
Madiro said if he committed any crime, the police should do their job without any due influence from certain quarters. He said there were some politicians in Manicaland who wanted to destroy his political career.
“I know very well that my life is in danger and some of these people want me out of the political radar.” Madiro said he was a disciplined member of Zanu-PF and there was no way he could abuse party funds.
“I grew up in the party and I have gone through the party mill. I have been the party’s director of finance for years and I know the rules and regulations that govern party funds,” he said.
Madiro warned those policians who were working to destroy his political career saying: “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” He said he had been the Manicaland provincial chairman five times, but at no given time did he request for any leadership position.
Meanwhile police investigations into the alleged extortion charges levelled against Madiro and other top provincial leaders deepened after the probe team intercepted other leads indicating the suspects’ involvement in the theft of farming inputs sourced under the Presidential Agricultural Inputs Scheme.
Sources privy to the investigations told NewsDay two weeks ago that the suspects are alleged to have helped themselves to the inputs meant for distribution in the province.
Although the actual quantities involved could not be ascertained, the consignments allegedly comprised of beans, rice, wheat and maize seeds kept at Madiro’s Wilton Farm in Odzi and another batch at a shop in the same area.
“Police will look into the allegations of misappropriated Presidential inputs which were kept on his farm and one of his shops in Odzi and not distributed to the intended beneficiaries,” said the highly-placed source.
“The inputs were supposed to have been distributed sometime ago and we wonder why he was keeping them on his farm. Planting time is over and it remains a mystery when he intended to distribute the inputs. There could be some criminal element here and investigating officers are looking into that.”
Others said Madiro started distributing the inputs two weeks ago just before police launched the probe.
On Wednesday, a Chipinge-based farmer, John Chirimambowa, told NewsDay that he kept a herd of cattle on behalf of Madiro that were meant for slaughter at last year’s 21st February Movement celebrations.
Contacted for comment over the investigations and the inputs saga, Manicaland provincial police spokesperson Inspector Enock Chishiri said he had not yet been briefed by the probe team which is being led by Chief Superintendent Crispen Makedenge. The Herald/NewsDay
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