By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Business |
Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) does not know the amount of gold being smuggled out of the country despite it being a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and exclusively authorised to buy the special mineral, Nehanda Radio can reveal.
The country’s biggest gold buyer appeared before a parliamentary committee on mines on Wednesday giving oral evidence on measures to deal with mineral leakages in Zimbabwe.
The committee is chaired by Zanu PF Shurugwi South MP Edmond Mkaratigwa.
Giving his remarks, Peter Magaramombe Acting general manager at FPR said gold deliveries between 2020 and 2021 were very low. He said this was caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and too much rain.
“Some of the reasons for the decline in deliveries are as follows: 1) the year 2020-21 season was characterised by heavy rains which caused flooding in number of mine sites
“2) the other issue is to do with COVID-19 pandemic. This is because of the restrictions that were put in place in relation to the movement of flights,” he said while giving a chance to his colleague, Mehluleli Dube to add.
Dube who is the Buying Manager at FPR said the organisation did not even know the amount of gold being smuggled out of the country. He actually asked concerned citizens to help them with scientific research to establish the quantity of the leakages.
“We agree that to some extent leakages do take place. Where perhaps we are not quite sure is the quantum of leakages,” he said.
He added “There is a need for us to do scientific research to determine how much is leaking because right now we create various figures depending on who you’re talking to because we don’t have a zero base line to say this is the leakage. So, we would like to encourage each other to say those who are able to quantify the production can help us to quantify.”
This ignited Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Zaka Central, Davison Svuure to take FPR to task asking them why they did not know the amount of gold being smuggled when they are the authorised buyers and a major stakeholder in the gold market in Zimbabwe.
“I would like to ask this question to the acting director if he would honestly tell this committee and therefore the nation to say he is equally not sure how gold is being smuggled in this country. From the remark that he gave, he sounds equally unsure as to how gold is being smuggled in this country.
“The second question is that he is so ignorant to the extent that he is actually reaching out to everyone to assist them to scientifically find out how much gold is being smuggled. We are assuming that Fidelity is the major stakeholder in the gold business but they get to that point where they ask the nation for help on gold smuggling statistics,” he asked.
In an interview with Nehanda Radio, MDC Alliance national deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatywayo said the management at FPR was not to blame because the gold market was being run by cartels belonging to the ruling Zanu PF party.
“You cannot blame those guys. They are just placeholders; they don’t even know anything. Everything is being controlled by other people who are very few.
“The minority, the cartels, are in charge of the whole country. What Zanu PF has done is to take everything in the country. They are controlling everything,” he said.
Last year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s nephew, Henrietta Rushwaya was arrested at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport after she was caught by detectives allegedly trying to smuggle 6kg of gold worth US$366,000 to Dubai. She is currently out of custody on bail.
Her former aide and driver Tashinga Nyasha Masinire was recently arrested at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa, after being found with 23 pieces of gold worth R11m (US$783 000). He is out on bail as well. Nehanda Radio