Political elites and security services have captured the companies mining Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields and siphoned off billions, even as the government blames private companies for crucial data gaps in its accounts, a report released on Monday alleges. KRISTEN VAN SCHIE reports.
Corruption watchdog Global Witness says it has found new evidence linking Zimbabwe's military and intelligence agency with several companies operating in the Marange diamond fields, connections long hidden behind an opaque wall of secrecy over revenue flows and ownership.
"From the outset of the Marange discovery, Zimbabwe's diamond mining sector has been shrouded in secrecy with poor governance underpinned by a lack of transparency and accountability," the report, titled "An Inside Job", reads. "Inside a closed industry, chronic mismanagement and diverted diamond proceeds have provided off-budget funds to those who have stifled dissent and democracy in Zimbabwe."
First discovered in Zimbabwe's far east in 2006, the Marange diamond fields have been repeatedly linked to corruption and human rights violations.
The armed forces were accused in 2008 of brutally evicting thousands of artisanal miners who had flooded the area after diamonds were discovered, while in 2011 activists claimed the diamonds were being used to fund President Robert Mugabe's presidential...