As Zimbabwe edged closer to the brink Tuesday, Zanu PF Youth League leader Kudzanai Chipanga, in a hard-hitting statement, accused Commander of the Defence Forces Constantino Chiwenga of looting over $15 billion worth of diamonds.
President Robert Mugabe last year told State media in an interview to mark his 92nd birthday that at least $15 billion worth of diamonds had disappeared without trace. The Zanu PF leader, however, did not proffer any explanation for the astounding claim.
And as the internal power struggle to succeed Mugabe reached fever pitch this week in the aftermath of the sacking of former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and a ground-breaking statement calling Mugabe to order by the military, the Zanu PF youth league wadded headlong into the raging storm.
"As Commander Defence Forces Cde Chiwenga, we await the full report on the whereabouts of the missing $15 billion as the army never accounted for the revenue after extraction of diamonds in Marange. This money will go a long way in alleviating the obtaining hardships the soldiers are facing and improve their welfare and morale," Chipanga said.
He said Chiwenga and Mnangagwa during the latter's tenure as Defence minister failed to manage the money from the gems.
"He (Chiwenga) cannot benefit from his own mischief and misdeeds in that together with the now fugitive Cde Dambudzo Mnangagwa failed to steward revenue streams that flowed from diamonds concessions allocated to the Defence Forces whose sole purpose was cushioning the Defence Forces from economic hardships. A day will come when those responsible will have to account to the people," said Chipanga.
In a report, titled "An inside job Zimbabwe: the state, the security forces, and a decade of disappearing diamonds", Global Witness, two months ago, confirmed that the military was the single biggest local beneficiary of Anjin Investments Pvt Ltd's diamond mining revenues.
Reports claim the military controlled a 30% stake in the joint venture with the Chinese government-owned corporation, the Anhui Foreign Economic Construction (Group) Co Ltd (Afec), but operations of the mining firm remained largely opaque.
Anjin is a joint venture between Afec, a large construction company which sources say is connected to the military-industrial complex in China, and Matt Bronze Enterprises, which was formed by the Defence ministry and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces through Glass Finish Investments (Pvt) Ltd.
The agreement to form a joint venture was signed by one Brigadier-General Charles Tarumbwa for Matt Bronze (Pvt) Ltd and Peng Zheng on behalf of Anhui.