Biti criticizes Mutapa Investment Fund as unconstitutional

Zimbabwe's former Finance minister Tendai Biti has strongly criticized the Mutapa Investment Fund, characterizing it as an unconstitutional takeover of the country's funds.

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s former Finance minister Tendai Biti has strongly criticized the Mutapa Investment Fund, characterizing it as an unconstitutional takeover of the country’s funds.

Biti voiced his concerns during an interview with Heart & Soul TV, an online TV and radio station operated by Alpha Media Holdings.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa officially established the Mutapa Investment Fund on September 19 through the gazetting of Statutory Instrument (SI) 156 of 2023.

This SI resulted in the transformation of the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe into the Mutapa Investment Fund and brought together 20 state-owned entities under a single umbrella.

Biti vehemently objected to the legality of the instrument, asserting that it did not comply with the law.

He went on to describe the move as unnecessary and suggested that its main aim was to expedite the sale of shares without proper public scrutiny.

Biti stated, “The instrument does not meet the test of the law and must be rejected as it is illegal. They are transferring the public shares into a private vehicle. The government already owns the shares; I think the issue is to sell shares as quickly as possible without public scrutiny.”

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FILE: Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and Permanent Secretary George Guvamatanga (covering face) at a press conference in Harare on 27th June 2022.

The Mutapa Investment Fund is a state-owned investment fund formed using balance of payment surpluses, official foreign currency operations, privatization proceeds, government transfer payments, fiscal surpluses, and resource earnings.

The fund includes various state-owned enterprises, such as Zupco, Kuvimba Mining House, NetOne, Air Zimbabwe, and many others.

Biti emphasized that this move to privatize state-owned entities was not in accordance with Zimbabwean law.

He argued that any procurement in Zimbabwe must adhere to principles of public accountability and transparency, as stated in section 340 of the Constitution.

According to Biti, neither the President nor George Guvamatanga, the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, had the authority to exclude transactions from the operations of the Public Procurement Act.

The renaming and consolidation of these entities under the Mutapa Investment Fund have faced significant criticism and have been labeled as a potential avenue for looting state assets.

Shortly after the renaming, President Mnangagwa announced that companies under the fund would not be subject to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, which has generated further controversy and raised concerns about transparency and accountability.

RosGwen24 News
RosGwen24 News
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