16 December 2013

Zimbabwe: Zim Diamond Miners Up in Arms After 10 Months Without Pay

Diamond miners working for a Marange firm that has been embroiled in allegations of corruption, are reportedly up in arms after going unpaid for almost a year.

The workers at the Gye Nyame Resources firm, which employs about 400 people, have revealed that they have not received salaries for 10 months.

The company is owned jointly by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), which has a 50% stake, the Zimbabwe Republic Police Trust (20%), the Ghanaian business tycoon William Ato Essien (24%) and a company called Dantor (6%). Dantor represents the interests of local shareholders Itai Munyeza and Blessmore Chanakira.

"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 was quoted as saying by the Zimbabwe Independent.

The firm is at the centre of allegations of a multimillion dollar bribe allegedly demanded by the former ZMDC chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa. This fraud was made public by Robert Mugabe, who called for an investigation into the incident.

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

The case however has barely progressed since then, amid allegations that top ZANU PF officials would be uncovered as being further involved in corruption, if a full probe was launched.

In September it emerged that more than US$10 million of shareholders' funds in Gye Nyame was abused by the diamond venture's indigenous partners, Dantor. It was reported that Dantor's Munyeza and Chanakira were involved in an elaborate financial scam, where the pair awarded themselves hefty salaries and introduced directors' fees as high as US$6,000-US$8,000 a month.

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