18 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Investigating Party Diamond Fraud

ZANU PF has launched an investigation into alleged diamond fraud involving five of its officials, who have exposed the party's control of the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

The case involves more than US$750, 000 that the five party members allegedly managed to convince companies mining at Chiadzwa to hand over for ZANU PF activities. The money was then reportedly used in part to fund their personal lives.

The five include Manicaland provincial chairperson Mike Madiro, ousted provincial youth chairperson Tawanda Mukodza, provincial youth secretary for security Admire Mahachi, provincial youth secretary for information Masimba Kangai and former district coordinating committee member Clever Muparutsa.

They stand accused of soliciting cash from the Chiadzwa based Mbada and Anjin firms as well as a third unnamed company, stating the money was needed for party activities, including last year's people's conference in Gweru. It is alleged Mbada gave them US$300,000 while another US$450,000 was given by the unnamed company. Anjin was also reportedly approached by the group, but the company insisted that it would transfer its US$400,000 'donation' into a ZANU PF account.

According to the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, the group appeared before a provincial disciplinary committee chaired by ZANU PF Manicaland vice chairperson Dorothy Mabika last Friday, and again this week. The fate of the group is not yet known, although reports suggest they could face being kicked out of the party.

It is already widely speculated that ZANU PF has been using the diamonds fields to generate cash for the party, and hidden profits that have not been seen by the government Treasury are said to be lining the pockets of top party officials. There have also been warnings from top international human rights groups about the diamond mines financing a parallel regime in Zimbabwe, to keep Robert Mugabe in power.

The case against the five party officials has further exposed how deep ZANU PF's influence runs at Chiadzwa, if money is so readily handed over for party activities. Political analyst Clifford Mashiri, who has been closely monitoring the diamond situation in Zimbabwe for several years, said Friday that the case "is just the tip of the iceberg."

"There's every reason to suspect that there's more to this than is just being reported," Mashiri told SW Radio Africa, adding: "We can clearly deduce that ZANU PF is using diamond money for its election campaign and for terrorising Zimbabweans head of elections, all of which needs money."

Mashiri also questioned why the five party members are being "sacrificed" in this way, given ZANU PF's usual silence on illegal activity involving its membership. He said the party is "trying to bring in some fake transparency," because they are attempting to save face ahead of elections.

"It is an election tactic to say you are rooting out corruption. But what we see here is corruption within corruption because there is ongoing corruption, allegedly committed by the diamond mines, and they are in turn being solicited for money by corrupt ZANU PF officials," Mashiri said.

ZANU PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo's phone went unanswered Friday.

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