24 January 2016

Zimbabwe: Illegal Diamond Dealers Busted At Tollgate

Two illegal diamond dealers from Zimbabwe's eastern city of Mutare hid R2.3m worth of diamonds inside a car seat, state media has reported.

It took a team of five police detectives more than an hour to find the diamonds after Never Chikwenha and Abbas Macky's car was stopped at a tollgate in Ruwa, more than two hours' drive from Mutare, the state-controlled Manica Post reported.

The paper said the two were "well-known" diamond dealers in the city, which lays close to the Marange diamond fields. The report comes just a day after Zimbabwe's central bank chief John Mangudya complained the authorities "don't know what has been exported" in terms of diamonds from the country, according to the privately-owned Newsday paper.

Chikwenha and Macky are reported to have appeared in court in Harare earlier this week. They have been granted bail.

Diamonds were first discovered in Marange in 2006, prompting a diamond rush.

A military clampdown and government takeover of the fields in late 2008 has not stopped smuggling: In fact, authorities admit the leakages are likely significant.

Cases of diamond smugglers from Mutare being busted are frequent.

Chikwenha and Macky were on their way to Harare to sell the gems, the Manica Post said.

The paper said that detectives were given a tip-off that the pair had diamonds in their car when they left Mutare but waited until they got to Ruwa tollgate to trap them because at that particular gate there is "nowhere to run".

Last week the Manica Post reported that a Lebanese diamond dealer from the city assaulted a gardener who stole a diamond from his home.

The diamond appears to have been stored illegally at the house of Raed Mohamed Taissir Elfaki.

The Lebanese dealer is alleged to have told his gardener that he "wouldn't be arrested in Zimbabwe", a possible reference to powerful political connections he has made.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Mangudya on Thursday called for much more transparency and accountability in the diamond industry, Newsday reports.

Source: News24


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