- Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company operating illegally
High ranking Zimbabwe government and military officials and well-connected elites are furious with dictator Robert Mugabe for cutting them off from the lucrative Marange (Chiadzwa) diamonds, where they collectively generated billions of dollars through illegal sales, shareholding in shadowy mining firms and theft of state assets, Now Daily can reveal.
Mugabe has now stripped the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), which is run and controlled by the military, of diamond mining powers and cancelled its concessions in Marange.
The senior regime figures lost out after Mugabe’s government banned mining by almost a dozen private firms in which they were clandestinely invested in partnership with the ZMDC. The government has now created a single firm, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Corporation to replace the ZMDC and mine diamonds in Marange.
Among the top officials who have lost out on the diamonds is defence forces commander Constantine Chiwenga and his ex-wife Jocelyn, Central Intelligence Organization director Happyton Bonyongwe and police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri.
Civilians who were involved in looting the Marange fields include Mugabe’s wife Grace Mugabe, her alleged lover and former Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, former mines minister Amos Midzi, ex-vice president Joyce Mujuru, information minister Christopher Mushohwe, environment minister Oppah Muchinguri and Mugabe’s late sister Sabina Mugabe.
Underlings in the army, including former administrator Brigadier General Charles Tarumbwa, Mugabe’s Air Force pilot Robert Mhlanga and chief of staff Douglas Nyikayaramba also feature on the list of those who raided the Marange diamonds for personal benefit or facilitated the looting but have now been sidelined as Mugabe assumes total control of the gemstones.
Chihuri personally made millions of dollars by diverting the proceeds of the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s official investment in Gye Nyame Resources to himself, according to human rights group Global Witness. The investigators found Chihuri to have bought a massive estate with a lake and swans in Borrowdale allegedly from the diamond proceeds.
Chiwenga built a massive hilltop villa in Borrowdale Brooke, close to Mugabe’s ‘blue roof’ residence, where his wife Mary Mubaiwa lives.
Tarumbwa is listed as a director in Mbada Diamonds, which has a complex structure with some shares held in secrecy jurisdictions including Mauritius, Hong Kong, British Virgin Islands and Dubai. Old Mutual plc was involved in Mbada after investing the funds of a client, New Reclamation Group of South Africa on behalf of Mhlanga, who was the firm’s chairman.
Now Daily also found that senior regime figures were benefitting from a shadowy 40 percent shareholding in Anjin in which ZMDC held 50 percent of the shares, “government” (meaning the military), 40 percent while Chinese Red Army firm Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company held 10 percent.
The generals and war veterans are challenging Mugabe to give up power as the conflict over diamonds threatens to turn bloody. Some have formed a new party, Zimbabwe People First, led by former vice president and notorious diamond looter Joyce Mujuru. Others oppose him from within Zanu PF through a faction called Lacoste, which is fronted by vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa and dominated by army and intelligence officials. Mnangagwa structured the diamond deals while he was still defence minister, giving away a huge chunk of the diamond wealth to the Chinese Red Army in exchange for weapons.
Sources say the proceeds from the diamonds now go directly to Mugabe. Finance minister Chinamasa confirmed that Mugabe was now directly involved in diamond mining, including demanding daily production reports. He said ZMDC, which Mugabe’s relative and mines minister Walter Chidhakwa failed to control had been stripped of diamond mining powers.
“These are two separated companies. The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) will be there for diamond mining in Zimbabwe as a whole. It now has the sole right to mine diamonds on behalf of the Zimbabwean Government. It is wholly owned by Government. Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) is a company that is wholly owned by the Government but it now looks into the mining of gold, asbestos, tin and other minerals. That would be the prerogative of ZMDC. Diamond mining is now confined to the ZCDC,” Chinamasa said.
The directorship of ZCDC remains shrouded in secrecy. The government has not revealed who its directors are or how it operates. ZCDC has also seized the assets of the banned diamond miners without paying for them. Chinamasa would not say where the ZCDC had obtained its capital, state where its equipment had come from nor say how the diamonds being produced are being marketed. It is not even known who the chief executive or top officers of ZCDC are as there was no transparent recruitment exercise as required for all senior appointments in state enterprises, which must first be advertised.
Investigations by Now Daily revealed that ZCDC is operating illegally. The government is planning to make amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act to give legal effect to the changes that have already been made unlawfully.
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