A Zimbabwean newspaper, the Zimbabwean Mail, reports that FRA has signed a US$42.5 million contract with a shadowy Zimbabwean company linked to State Security agency CIO, Sakunda Trading of Zimbabwe for the sale of 300, 000 metric tonnes of maize in a deal believed to be a secret pact between President Mugabe and his Zambian counter-part Michael Sata.
Last week Sata visited Zimbabwe on an official engagement and sources said he pledged his backing for Robert Mugabe re-election by providing him with maize for campaign in the countryside.
FRA public relations officer Mwamba Siame said in a statement issued in Lusaka that the sale of the 300,000 metric tonnes of maize to Zimbabwe will reduce the surplus stock kept by the agency to 330, 435 metric tonnes.
In Zimbabwe, maize procurement is supposed to be carried out through the State Company, the Grain Marketing Board, GMB and paid by the Ministry of Finance and sources said the deal has been financed by a diamond company Mbada Private Limited which is run by a cabal of military and Zanu-PF officials.
On its website Sakunda says it is an Energy company, and claims its largest supplier of liquid fuels and other petrochemicals, and business of providing energy solutions that which it says keep the wheels of industry and the economy turning.
Sources said the company is linked to high-level Zanu-PF leaders.
Zimbabwe already owes Zambia millions of US Dollars but has failed to pay.
In November 2011, the Zimbabwean government finally agreed to clear its long- outstanding debt of about $260 million owed to Zambia for the shared Kariba Dam infrastructure the country inherited at independence.
However, energy minister Elton Mangoma said the country had no capacity to settle the 30-year-old debt.
“We discussed and agreed that the interest would no longer be paid but only $70,8 million plus the initial evaluation of $70,8 million,” he said.
“It was agreed interest should be written off but the capital amount should be paid within 3 years, but Zimbabwe does not have the capacity to pay,” Mangoma said.
So does Zimbabwe have the USD 40 million to immediately pay for the maize or that was another donation by president Michael Sata?
Time will tell.