8 June 2018

Zimbabwe's Parliament Wants Investigations Into Diamond Operations to Continue After July Poll

Photo: The Herald
Diamonds (file photo).

Zimbabwe's Parliament wants investigations into diamond mining operations to be continued after the July 30 elections and the return of former concession holders, including the Chinese to the Marange fields.

The country holds its first vote since Robert Mugabe's downfall in November after nearly 40 years in power, on July 30, and the Eighth Parliament will be dissolved before then.

Temba Mliswa, who leads the parliamentary committee on mines and energy, presented a report in the National House of Assembly which recommended that the state owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company be dissolved and former concession holders be allowed go back to continue mining in Chiadzwa.

The committee also recommended that Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu, a former minister of mines, be investigated by law enforcement agents over money paid to his lawyer, Farai Mutamangira by the Mines and Minerals Corporation of Zimbabwe for unclear services.

Former president Mugabe, who has steadfastly refused to appear before a Parliamentary committee trying to interrogate him over his claim that $15 billion of diamond revenue went missing, must answer questions to bring closure to the saga, Mliswa said.

"The former president Mugabe needs to clear the air on the missing 15 billion dollars' worth of revenue immediately. Closure on the alleged missing diamond revenues is possible if the former president clears the air on the context he made the assertion that the country lost such an amount, and the Ninth Parliament must pursue the matter to the logical conclusion," said Mliswa.

"ZCDC must be dissolved immediately because it was not properly constituted and the ministry must revert to the pre-February 2016 position of the concession holders.The Minister of Mines must follow due process immediately. Investigation on Mpofu on directives on monies paid by MMCZ, Marange Resources and Canadile Miners for legal services to Mutamangira which were not specified need to be interrogated."

The committee wants Mutamangira, who was paid nearly $1 million, to be investigated by the Law Society of Zimbabwe, the Auditor General and the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission.

"Regular lifestyle audits should be conducted on Ministers of Mines, its officials and parastatals under the Ministry in order to curb corruption.The Civil Service Commission should appoint an independent body to conduct regular lifestyle audits on persons working at the Ministry and parastatals under the Ministry."

Parliament also recommended that security arms such as the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe National Army and the Central Intelligence Agency should not be involved in mining ventures.

The committee also wants a forensic audit to be conducted as a matter of urgency on all companies that were operating in Marange

Bulawayo South MP Eddie Cross said Zimbabwe could have lost up to $20 billion in unrecorded diamond revenue.

"In 2012 about $4 billion worth of diamonds was being produced and this went unrecorded. In 20 years more than $20 billion was obtained in Marange and it vanished. In Botswana every child gets free education up to university level because of it is paid through diamond revenues which are well managed," Cross said.

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