Zimbabwe: Diamond Miners Unpaid for 10 Months

EMPLOYEES at a Chiadzwa diamond mining company, GyeNyame Resources (GNR), are up in arms with the management over salaries they say have not been paid for the past 10 months.

GNR, which employs close to 400 workers, has also not remitted employees' contributions to the Mining Industry Pension Fund (MIPF) and National Social Security Authority (Nssa).

The company, owned by Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), which has a 50% stake, Zimbabwe Republic Police Trust (20%), Ghanaian tycoon William Ato Essien (24%) and Dantor (6%) -- a company representing the interests of local shareholders Itai Munyeza and Blessmore Chanakira -- has been in the limelight over bribery allegations.

"We have not been paid for the past 10 months but ZRP officers who are also employed at the mine are getting double salaries because they get their normal wages from government and US$1 250 from the company," a source at the mine said.

President Robert Mugabe in September publicly accused former ZMDC chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa of demanding and receiving a US$6 million bribe from Essien.

However, the case is now widely believed to be as good as dead despite assurances from the police that investigations are under way. Government sources have said investigations hit a brick wall because they would have exposed high-ranking officials.

Well-placed sources said the salary problems started when Essien lost more than US$10 million he had committed to GNR operations to his indigenous partners -- Munyeza and Chanakira -- in an elaborate financial scam in which the duo allegedly awarded themselves hefty salaries and introduced directors' fees as high as US$6 000 - US$8 000 a month.

The sources also said there is dual employment as more than 50 ZRP officials employed by the company are earning close to US$1 250 per month on top of their government salaries.

"Employees at Gye Nyame Resources are suffering at the hands of corrupt people in government, company structures in general and ZRP in particular.

"The workers have now gone for a long time without a salaries and when we try to find out what is happening all efforts are thwarted by the police," said a disgruntled employee.

"We work 21 days a month, 12 hours a day, but no overtime is given."

Besides failing to pay its workers, the sources said the mine has also not been remitting the employees' contributions to the MIPF and Nssa.

"We went to the MIPF to find out about our contributions but we were told the company has not been remitting contributions, yet our pay slips reflect deductions," the employee said.

GNR mine manager Mali Mudoka refused to comment on the allegations saying all questions must be referred to the head office in Harare.

"I have nothing to say over that issue. You can contact our head office in Harare," Mudoka said.

Raymond Matimba, GNR administration manager, also refused to shed light on the issue.

"I am not aware of what is happening because I have not been at work for a long time now," Matimba said.

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