Executive Director at Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) Farai Maguwu and MDC Alliance principal Tendai Biti has condemned the government’s decision to sell Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) without the consent of the parliament.
By Shantel Chisango
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube last week announced that ten gold producers were going to buy FPR, an arm of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for US$49 million.
Maguwu says the government acted without the approval of the parliament, which he says is a crime.
Meanwhile, the MDC Alliance opposed the government’s decision to sell FPR, saying it is not the government’s position to give away the state’s assets.
In regard to the issue, MDC Alliance former Vice president Tendai Biti lamented that “the disposal of state gold mines like the disposal of Fidelity is illegal and unconstitutional,”
“Only parliament has authority to approve and sanction any disposal of state assets held in entities created by parliament itself. At a time when there is a commodity boom, it is foolish and naked corruption to dispose of any commodities let alone a refinery,” added Biti.
Speaking to the Mines Portfolio Chairperson Honourable Edmond Mkaratigwa, he said that, “All citizens have a right to be heard at law and to have public decisions reviewed to ensure administrative justice.”
Maguwu went on to question the discretion in the names of the buyers of FPR, and what made the government reach such a conclusion.
“Further, we are only told of 10 companies that have bought 60% of FPR. Who are the 10? How were they selected?” enquired Maguwu.
Fidelity Printers and Refinery is a security printing and gold refinery company wholly owned by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe established in 1966. FPR operates from a printing and gold refinery plant located in Msasa Industrial area in Harare and a coin minting facility in Bulawayo.
Gold Refinery ownership in South Africa
In South Africa, Rand Refinery is owned by five large South African gold mining companies, Anglogold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony, Sibanye Gold and DRDGOLD. AngloGold Ashanti owns 42.41% of Rand Refinery shares, Sibanye Gold owns 33.15%, DRD controls 11.3%, Harmony holds 10.38%, and Gold Fields holds a relatively small 2.76%. All of these gold mining companies are members of the Chamber of Mines of South Africa.
It remains to be seen if the selling of FPR will improve timely payments as it is currently struggling on that front resulting in the latter snubbing the state entity increasing gold smuggling.