The NOW DAILY Diamond Report
By JOHN CHIMUNHU
Sam Pa, the controversial Chinese businessman who clandestinely sponsored Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe’s discredited regime by funnelling money from illegal diamond sales to the secret police has been exposed as a danger to democracy in the country.
Pa’s support to Mugabe’s deadly Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) paralysed the the power-sharing agreement with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, killing off a rare chance for a political settlement in the country, according to documents obtained by NOW DAILY.
But it was Pa’s alleged involvement in looting and smuggling of millions of dollars worth of the disputed Marange diamonds, mined amid much army bloodshed in Manicaland province, that triggered a backlash from the United States government.
In an Executive Order, the highest level of presidential authorisation, Barack Obama recently directed the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to freeze all of Pa’s assets under Washington’s jurisdiction and also bar Americans from doing business with him.
According to E.O. 13469, Pa was being punished for his “role in undermining Zimbabwe’s democratic processes and institutions or facilitating public corruption through support to the Government of Zimbabwe, senior government officials and/or Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs).
“OFAC sanctioned Sam Pa, an Angolan businessman and well-known supporter of the Mugabe regime,” said a U.S. government statement. “Sam Pa is being designated for undermining democratic processes and institutions in Zimbabwe, facilitating public corruption by senior government officials through illicit diamond deals, and providing financial and logistical support to the Government of Zimbabwe and Specially Designated Nationals.”
The damning U.S. government report added: “Among other actions, Sam Pa has given more than one million dollars, as well as supplies and equipment, to senior Zimbabwe government officials in support of the Central Intelligence Organisation, in its capacity as Zimbabwe’s state intelligence service, is linked to activities meant to undermine democracy.”
Apparently, Pa came to Mugabe’s aid in 2010, when the MDC controlled the finance ministry under a coalition government and refused to fund the spy agency’s attacks on pro-democracy campaigners.
“The CIO credits Sam Pa’s financial support with helping the organisation survive a harsh economic climate. This off-budget financing has contributed to CIO programmes dedicated to pre-election intimidation in Zimbabwe, among other activities,” the U.S. government report said.
Additionally, the U.S. government also black-listed Jimmy Zerenie, a Zimbabwe-based Singaporean lawyer who “is a business associate of Sam Pa and acted on his behalf by facilitating illicit diamond deals between Sam Pa and senior Zimbabwean officials”.
The Obama administration also embargoed Sino Zim Development (Pvt) Ltd., a Zimbabwe-based entity owned or controlled by Zerenie and a senior Zanu PF government official.
According to researchers, among them Global Witness, Sino Zim was awarded a diamond concession in the rich Marange fields and abused this to facilitate smuggling of gemstones to Hong Kong and Dubai. Pa’s Airbus jet was reported shipping regular packets of gemstones from Harare’s airport, sometimes under the personal guard of CIO director-general, Happyton Bonyongwe, who introduced Pa to Mugabe.
Pa has made regular visits to Zimbabwe using a number of his many aliases.
According to the U.S. Treasury, Pa, born in China on 28 February 1958 uses the names Samo Hui, Xu Jinghua, Sam King, Tsui Kyung-wha, Ghiu Ka Leung and Antonio Famtosonghiu Sampo. He was born in China where he joined the military and worked as a counter-intelligence officer, a position which brought him into close contact with revolutionaries like Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola and Equatorial Guinnea coup-maker, Obiang Teodoro Nguema Mbasogo. After Angola gained independence from Portugal, Pa moved to Luanda and set up Sonangol, a joint venture with the government, which has now become China’s largest single source of oil, run by Dos Santos’s son.
According to Global Witness, Pa gave the CIO $100 million to destroy the political careers of MDC leaders through secret missions code-named ‘Spiderweb’ and ‘Blackhawk’.
The highly secretive Pa, who has only one known photograph in circulation, is classified as Angolan because of Sonangol but also holds a British passport and operates his Queensway Syndicate from Hong Kong.His main offices, under his flagship Newbright International are based on Wall Street in New York, but his 70 percent shares are held by Veronica Fung, alongside Lo Fong Hung.
Announcing the sanctions on Pa on April 17 2014, United States Under-Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, David S. Cohen said Sam Pa was being targetted for “disrupting Zimbabwe’s democratic and economic progress”.