12 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Prove That Diamonds Are Funding Army - Mnangagwa

Photo: Denford Magora
Zimbabwe diamond.

Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has challenged fellow Cabinet ministers to present evidence showing that proceeds from Chiadzwa diamond fields were used to fund army operations and parallel Government structures.

Some Cabinet Ministers, particularly from the MDC-T, have accused Zanu-PF and the military of abusing money from Chiadzwa diamonds. However, Minister Mnangagwa dismissed the claims in an interview with The Herald last Friday and challenged anyone with such evidence to bring it to the fore.

"If they have that evidence they should present it," he said.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has on several occasions alleged that little was being remitted from Chiadzwa, raising suspicion that the money was being channelled elsewhere.

He further claimed that the Zimbabwe National Army was recruiting officers illegally because treasury was facing liquidity challenges.

The recruitment made by the Zimbabwe National Army is covered by the Ministry of Defence.

However, Minister Mnangagwa said the recruitment of officers by the ZNA was guided by the Ministry's budget.

"When we do our recruitment we look at our budget and not what the Minister of Finance says," said Minister Mnangagwa.

He said the Zimbabwe Defence Forces were playing a vital role in maintaining peace and stability in the country.

"I would like to commend the ZDF for remaining vigilant and patriotic as some elements are working tirelessly to reverse the gains of our hard won independence.

"The defence of our independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity remains an aspect that is not negotiable," he said.

State Enterprises Minister Godern Moyo also claimed that Zanu-PF was running a parallel Government using money from Chiadzwa. At most of its rallies MDC-T leadership claimed that the military was controlling money from Chiadzwa.

They alleged that there was no transparency in the manner in which money from Chiadzwa was being administered.

Zimbabwe has not benefited much from its gemstones as a result of illegal sanctions imposed by the West.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu said the US Office of Foreign Assets Control had intercepted Zimbabwe's diamond money on several occasions.

This had resulted in Government reviewing downwards this year's projected revenue from Chiadzwa diamond fields.

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