Political Editor

TOP MDC Alliance officials (names supplied) used their positions to strip the troubled opposition party of assets that include houses, vehicles as well as lining their pockets with donor and public funds.

The stripping of the MDC was unearthed after the rival faction led by Dr Thokozani Khupe occupied the party headquarters following the Supreme Court ruling that declared Mr Nelson Chamisa an illegitimate leader of the opposition party.

Soon after her ascendancy to the MDC leadership post, in an acting capacity, Dr Khupe vowed to investigate how the party used the US$7 million that it received under the Political Parties Finance Act.

Party internal auditors entrusted by Dr Khupe then stumbled upon evidence that the money in question was just a tip of the iceberg of sleazy dealings that involve some top MDC Alliance officials.

MDC secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora confirmed that investigations are underway to establish what happened to the party’s so-called safe houses as well as vehicles that were converted to personal use.

“Right now that is a matter that I would not want to discuss in detail but it is a matter that the leadership of the party is dealing with. The matter of embezzlement of the party funds and trying to strip the party of its assets. We are looking into this issue but we will advise at the appropriate time and take the issue to the police,” said Mr Mwonzora.

However, while addressing party structures over the weekend, Mr Mwonzora said the party lost over US$23 million to some of its leaders who misled the late Mr Morgan Tsvangirai into believing that there would be a presidential election run-off and there was need for a resourced war chest to fund the polls.

“We didn’t know that the party had more than 150 vehicles but we have the paper trail and we are going to trace what happened to those vehicles. We are going to trace where our motorbikes are.

“We have people who left the party with more than US$23 million. This happened in 2013 when we were using the US dollar. So some people lied to Tsvangirai that there would be a run-off and they took the money to Botswana. After the election, Tsvangirai said can you take US$5 million from that stash to rebuild the party and they then started accusing him of being too old and suggested that they should be a leadership renewal. Those same people who lied to Tsvangirai and stole the party money now want to lead us,” said Mwonzora.

MDC Alliance secretary general Mr Chalton Hwende yesterday admitted that the party still has vehicles it is still using. He, however, said the vehicles were not going to be handed over to the Dr Khupe camp.

“He was the secretary general for five years. Why doesn’t he report the case to the police? He completed his five-year term but didn’t raise those issues. What we know is that there is no missing money. The only assets we know that are missing are vehicles that were auctioned by Mwonzora. We also know that the last vehicles that were bought by the party were bought by vice president Tendai Biti when he was the secretary general. Those cars we have them and we cannot give them because they belong to the party,” said Mr Hwende.

In February this year, MDC Alliance treasurer general Mr David Coltart revealed that the party was carrying an audit to establish what happened to at least $2 million amid rumblings from the party workers that the leadership were living it up while they lived in squalor.

Since the March Supreme Court ruling that rendered Mr Chamisa illegitimate, several party officials, including legislators and councillors are jumping ship, joining Dr Khupe and her allies who are now determined to expose the rot in the MDC Alliance corridors.