Marange audit hangs in the balance
By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
The three firms that government hired in August to audit the seven companies that mined diamonds in Marange up to late 2015 are yet to begin their work amid reports of lack of political will on the part of government.
The seven companies, namely Marange Resources, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin, Gye Name, Jinan, Kusena and Diamond Mining Company (DMC), were stopped from operating after massive leakages of gems.
Government has since taken over diamond mining in the area through a merger, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) whose takeover is being challenged by some of the former extractors.
A tender for the audit was formally closed at the end of June this year, with BDO Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants, HLB Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants and PricewaterhouseCoopers coming on board to do the work.
The local media quoted unnamed sources claiming that government authorities were developing cold feet because the audit could open a can of worms.
“Auditors have been appointed and these are BDO, HLB and PwC, but the audit is yet to start. People know what a real audit will expose and those close to the corridors of power will be exposed,” said a source.
“The people who are supposed to carry out the audit are there, they were appointed long back but we don’t know why it’s yet to take off…there is no explanation except that there are some administrative issues,” added the source.
Official diamond mining in Marange started off in 2008 with Marange Resources, a wholly owned government company.
Others joined particularly from 2009, but gem extraction has been dogged by controversy as the mining companies declared far below what was expected amid reports of systematic looting.
Numerous reports indicated that there was massive looting of diamonds and corruption in the marketing of the precious mineral.
A 2012 Global Witness report indicated that millions of dollars worth of diamonds were diverted to oil the military and intelligence so as to prop up President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Sceptics have cited this as one reason why the audit will never be allowed to carry out the purported work or if they do, government would never publicise the findings, as it would expose the security sector and top government officials. Nehanda Radio