Marange gems sent to Asia on private planes
By Kenneth Matimaire | The Zimbabwean |
Private aeroplanes that are never searched to quantify volume, grade or value of their precious cargo of minerals, regularly leave the country, bound for Asia.
This syndicated operation that deprives the country of millions of dollars in both taxes and royalties has been unmasked by the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions.
The ZFTU claims that is fully aware of the secretive operation. It is an ally of Zanu (PF) and is using its links within the ruling party to obtain information regarding the shenanigans presently rocking the vast Marange fields.
Dubai and Hong Kong
The secretary general of the labour movement, Kenias Shamuyarira, said that their union was fully aware that the Marange diamonds were being fraudulently sold in Dubai and Hong Kong.
“Diamonds are mined and chartered in private planes. I know that private planes come from here and land in Harare. They are not searched by authorities. They leave straight for Dubai and Hong Kong,” he said.
Shamuyarira said diamond companies falsify the papers stating that the diamonds sold in Asia are industrial gems of low quality, thereby taking advantage of the fact that the minerals were never assessed by the authorities. The fraudulent scam was orchestrated by diamonds company management working in cahoots with influential politicians in government.
“We are told that the diamonds were industrial diamonds. There is no transparency, no sincerity. How are we expected to embrace this ‘Look East Policy’ that short-changes and deprives the country and its people? How is the country and the rest of Africa expected to develop under such shenanigans?” he asked.
The exposé comes amid widespread reports of diamond looting in Marange. An Italian diamond cartel was recently captured in possession of illegal diamonds worth $450 million that were destined for the international market.
Moreover, expelled Zanu (PF) secretary for administration confirmed that there was rampant looting in Chiadzwa citing Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the biggest beneficiary.
Looting of diamonds has resulted in low contributions from the sector towards national finance. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Treasury has not received proceeds from diamond sales, hinting at possible diamond looting. However, Mines and Mining development Minister Walter Chidhakwa shot down the claim indicating that diamond companied were still paying royalties, albeit at a lower scale.
His deputy Fred Moyo also indicated that low diamond sales were as a result of industrial gems being mined by the firms.
However, ZFTU boldly stated that the deputy Mines Minister is lying. Also, contrary to Moyo’s assertions, his superior Chidhakwa indicated that some diamond firms were already extracting conglomerate and kimberlite gems.
The labour movement threatened to expose and flush out all corrupt cabinet ministers for abusing their portfolios and thereby doing a disservice to the country. “Media must help us flush out the thugs and pretenders in Zanu (PF). The ministers who receive kickbacks must be flushed out. They are hypocrites who are milking companies and suppressing workers,” said Shamuyarira.