28 January 2014

Zimbabwe: Chiadzwa Firms Face Govt Audit in 'Transparency' Plan

Photo: Denford Magora
Diamond Fields in Zimbabwe

The ZANU PF government is reportedly conducting an audit of the seven firms mining at the Chiadzwa diamond fields, in an alleged bid to improve transparency and accountability there.

According to a Herald newspaper report, only one firm will be allowed to carry on its activities, and the decision will follow the audit.

The seven companies in Chiadzwa are Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Anjin Investments, the Diamond Mining Company, Jinan, Kusena and Gye Nyame.

The firms are all joint ventures with the government, and the main investors have been Chinese.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa told the National Assembly last week: "Firstly, we will look at a particular company and demand information on how many diamonds have been taken from the country and secondly how much they have been sold for."

He added: "We need to know that as a country. What we want to do is to cut down on these other companies and identify a company which will work in conjunction with the government so that we do not have these small companies working on our diamonds."

A lack of revenue from the alluvial fields has been an ongoing issue ever since ZANU PF started forming the joint ventures in 2008. Human rights and civil society groups have insisted that the proceeds are lining the pockets of a select few within ZANU PF, who are operating as part of a larger criminal network controlling the Zim diamond sector.

It was also claimed by the Global Witness group that the proceeds were being used to run a parallel government during the tenure of the coalition government, with the intention of cementing ZNAU PF's position in power.

With the party now firmly back in control, there are questions being raised about how it plans to promote 'transparency', when it has benefited from the industry's murky nature.

As this online commentator stated: "Some of those companies are run by police commissioners and army generals who are the backbone of ZANU. I do not see them being asked to close shop. Chinamasa, are you hoping to get anything from those companies? You let them do braais (nyama yekugocha) with our diamonds while you and your party condoned looting."

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