By Clayton Masekesa
MUTARE – Highly placed sources within the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company (ZCDC) and Ministry of Mines last week spoke of how 12 diamond mining companies are clandestinely extracting diamonds worth billions of dollars in Chiadzwa.
ZCDC is a government owned entity which replaced previous diamond miners accused of looting and externalising diamond revenue.
Zim Morning Post on Saturday heard that the 12 companies in question were awarded mining concessions after entering into a non-disclosure agreement with ZCDC.
“Actually, ZCDC was instructed to enter into this agreement with these mining companies,” said our source.
According to sources close to this publication, top serving and retired military officers, including some influential government and Zanu PF officials are said to be shareholders, directors and chief executive officers in the respective 12 diamond mining entities.
“The 12 mining companies have made easy the siphoning of billions of dollars in Chiadzwa diamond revenue into the pockets of some powerful individuals,” said the source, adding that ZCDC was no longer completely in charge of diamond mining in Zimbabwe.
A local human rights organisation – Centre For Research and Development (CRD) – said the move to ‘sneak’ the 12 mining companies into ZCDC to explore and mine diamonds was bad for would be mega mining deals.
CRD director James Mupfumi said: “The first thing we want to ask is why the agreements had a non-disclosure clause?
“What are they hiding? The whole process lacks transparency and accountability.
“Why were the agreements not openly done?”
“From our investigations, we have gathered that the companies have been awarded mining concessions secretly, opening diamonds to plundering,” Mupfumi added.
He also said the companies were secretly operating under ZCDC.
“The fact that these companies are under ZCDC means they do not have the capacity to mine the diamonds. So, how will they be monitored?” Mupfumi queried.
“How will the ZCDC manage such a partnership?
“The world must know that while we are focusing attention on the COVID-19 pandemic, diamonds in Chiadzwa are being plundered,” he said.
“Let us not lose focus because looters of diamonds in Chiadzwa are now back through these 12 secretive mining companies,” Mupfumi said.
He urged Parliament to hold accountable Mines minister Winston Chitando for what has led to ZCDC entering into non-disclosure agreements with the 12 mining companies.
“National interests should not be exempted from accountability.
“Section 315 (2) (c) of the Constitution requires Parliament to play an oversight role during negotiations of mining contracts, including performance monitoring of all mining activities,” Mupfumi said.
Efforts to get a comment from Mines Minister Winston Chitando were fruitless as he was not answering his mobile phone.
The minister also did not respond to questions sent him on his WhatsApp platform despite indications he had read them.
The late former President Robert Mugabe at one time said that Zimbabwe had lost close to $15 billion of diamond revenue through illicit deals perpetrated by unnamed and influential people within his government. Zim Morning Post