Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe’s bankrupt regime has seized control of mining equipment worth hundreds of millions of dollars belonging to companies that have been booted out of the Marange diamond fields, Now Daily has confirmed.
The government cancelled the concessions of several companies that were operating jointly with the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC). Initially, Mugabe proposed bringing the firms under the ambit of the newly formed Zimbabwe Diamond Mining Company (ZDMC) but this was resisted. Several companies have now taken the government to court demanding restoration of their mining rights. This has angered Mugabe who has directed that their equipment be taken over by ZDMC, which has failed to raise funds to purchase its own machinery.
Deputy mines minister Fred Moyo confirmed that ZMDC joint venture companies could not withdraw their equipment which is now considered to have been jointly owned with the state.
“Talking of equipment that is on the ground, we were looking at this matter as late as yesterday (April 5). Some of the equipment belongs to the companies that were in joint venture with the ZMDC and those companies must deal with the issue of the equipment. It is really owned by the two parties who were in co-operation,” Moyo said. “There is however equipment that was being contracted to these companies either through contract companies or hire-purchase to these companies from financial institutions. We are dealing with that matter because if there was a contractor on the ground whose equipment is genuinely confirmed to belong to them, you cannot tie that equipment to the issue of mine ownership. Once we get clarity on the form the equipment is sitting at the mine, we should be able to assist the owners of the equipment to have possession.”
Moyo said the government was recruiting to fill ZDMC positions. However, only three companies have agreed to work with the state while the rest, including Mbada Diamonds, Anjin, Diamond Mining Corporation and Jinan have taken the government to court demanding renewal of their contracts.
Moyo said: “The Ministry has now registered the Zimbabwe Diamond Mining Company which is now in operation legally. In addition to this registration, the Ministry has also issued the same company with mining title over the current diamond areas. The Ministry has also put a board in place to supervise the activities of the company. Recruitment of personnel into the various posts to resource the company structure are ongoing and interviews are being conducted at the moment. The companies that are in ZCDC at the moment, that is, those that have joined the consolidated company are Marange, Gye Nyame and Kusena Diamond Mining Companies. Those are the three that currently constitute Zimbabwe Diamond Mining Corporation.”
Opposition MP James Maridadi described the changes in diamond mining as ‘chaotic’. He said there was no guarantee that the government would win the cases in court or that the changes would end thefts of diamonds. Mugabe estimated that $15 billion worth of diamonds had been stolen and named Anjin among the culprits but the company denied this in court papers.
“If cases are won in court, obviously the Government must respect the court rulings,” Moyo said.
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