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How Mpofu, Chimombe got away with US$87 million goat scheme

The claims of misuse of the US$40 million Presidential Goat Scheme by businessmen Mike Chimombe and Moses Mpofu have prompted a probe by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).

In keeping with the goal to uphold the doctrine of separation of powers established by the Zimbabwean Constitution, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda announced to the Assembly that they will not conduct a parallel investigation into the case and will instead let ZACC carry out its duties.

Following his proposal that Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts be given the authority to look into the pair by inviting the Treasury to learn more about the program, Marondera Central MP Mr. Caston Matewu made the request,

In an interview with The Herald yesterday, ZACC spokesperson, Commissioner Thandiwe Malobane said they were keen to interview Chimombe and Mpofu, who are connected to a company known as Blackdeck that the Government contracted.

“We received communication from Mr Mpofu and Mr Chimombe’s lawyers advising the commission that the two are currently out of the country. The lawyers made a commitment that once their clients are available, they will bring them through for interviews.

“We have seen the document circulating on social media and I cannot confirm social media content. However, as indicated in our statement released on Sunday, the commission is keen to interview the two pertaining the Presidential Goat Scheme,” she said.

Although Comm Malobane could not provide more details, The Herald heard that the two are likely to be charged with violating the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act or theft of trust property, as defined under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

According to the allegations, the accused received US$40 million from Treasury to supply and deliver goats as part of the Presidential Goat Scheme, which is intended to assist economically disadvantaged households nationwide.

It is also claimed that the accused individuals did not deliver the goats as agreed upon after receiving the aforementioned monies from Treasury, instead using them to purchase luxurious houses and vehicles.

As part of its investigations, ZACC requested that the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development, and Investment Promotion provide it with information about the case, such as the total amount of money released by Treasury to fund the Presidential Goat Scheme and the account information where the funds were deposited.

The anti-graft body also requested the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to provide procurement records, and proof of payment it made to Blackdeck towards the purchase of the goats.

It also requested a reconciliation of the expenditures for all funds received by the Ministry of Lands from the Ministry of Finance towards the purchasing of the goats, as well as the total number of goats delivered to the Ministry of Lands by Blackdeck.

Other Government institutions that were engaged include the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit, the Registrar of Companies and the Magistrate Courts, where a search and seizure warrant was granted.

It emerged that on November 16, 2021, the Government of Zimbabwe represented by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development entered into a contract with Blackdeck Livestock and Poultry Farming, represented by Moses Mpofu, valued at US$87 757 168.00 for the supply and delivery of 632 001 goats over a period of five years.

It was agreed that the Ministry of Lands will make an advance payment of 30 percent to Blackdeck Livestock and Poultry Farming towards the purchase of the goats, which was eventually paid.

During yesterday’s Parliament session, Adv Mudenda said launching a parallel investigation into the matter was not only imprudent, but unconstitutional as ZACC was already seized with the case.

Also Read: Mike Chimombe, Moses Mpofu ‘Hiding’ In China As ZACC Threatens Vicious Action

In his ruling, Adv Mudenda said while the concern was valid, acceding to it was like trying to close the door when the proverbial horse had long bolted.

He said there was no longer need to involve Parliament since the Executive, through ZACC, had already launched investigations.

He said if Parliament had managed to pick the allegations on time, they could have raised it and possibly referred it to ZACC on time.

“That is a good suggestion but as Parliament we must observe the doctrine of separation of powers. If one arm of the State is seized with a matter, you cannot, as Parliament, come in to investigate,” said Adv Mudenda.

He said Parliament will still be able to debate the case, given that ZACC is obliged to table annual reports to Parliament outlining its work.

Adv Mudenda said his ruling did not mean that he had gagged debate as what the “gutter press” have sought to accuse him of in the past.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi concurred with Adv Mudenda saying it was no longer necessary for Parliament to move in since ZACC was already dealing with the matter.

He said Adv Mudenda’s ruling was a correct interpretation of the law.

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