Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Corruption rocks multi-million Ethanol project in Chisumbanje

Corruption rocks multi-million Ethanol project in Chisumbanje

By Tichaona Sibanda
13 October 2011

The Chisumbanje ethanol plant, which cost $600 million to construct, is 
reportedly embroiled in serious corruption allegations following revelations 
that government only controls 10 percent of the shares in the project.

The controversy surrounding the money spinning project, approved by 
government on the understanding it will have a controlling stake of 51 
percent, has sucked in Joseph Made, the Agriculture, Mechanisation and 
Irrigation Development Minister, according to the state media.

The ZBC news website reported that Made, and two officials from his 
ministry, have been summoned by a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on 
Agriculture to explain this anomaly.

During a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee meeting recently, at which Made 
gave oral evidence, it was discovered the Ethanol project did not comply 
with the country’s indigenization laws. The same committee, according to the 
ZBC, heard information gathered by a national taskforce indicating that 
government recommended against the project between ARDA and two firms, 
Macdon Investments and Ratings Investments, which the state media said is 
owned by business magnate, Billy Rautenbach.

A source alleged that Macdom Investments and Rating Investments Ltd are 
foreign registered companies but 90% of their shareholding is owned by 
Rautenbach. Arda, the local investment partner which represents the 
government, controls the remaining 10 percent.

‘This is a major scandal which has been known and talked about in the 
corridors of power. There is no public information on who is representing 
government in the Macdom and Rating Investments board. The fact that Made 
told Parliament he was also unaware of who controls what at the project 
tells us something is not right at this plant,’ our source said.

‘This is a multi-million dollar project and people thought that by taking 
short cuts and trying to hide information they would become very rich. What 
these people forgot was that this project displaced over 300 000 people, the 
same people who are demanding answers to this whole set up,’ the source 

The project, when fully operationally, is supposed to provide 70 percent of 
Zimbabwe’s fuel needs and will also supply electricity to Mutare and several 
parts of Manicaland.


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