MUTARE – Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Marange say the re-launch of Anjin Investments to mine diamonds in Chiadzwa does
not reflect President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s commitment to fighting corruption that previously resulted in diamonds worth billions of dollars being smuggled out of the country.
Anjin Investments, previously plagued with glaring irregularities in diamond sales, was one of seven companies that were operating
in Marange diamond fields prior to the consolidation of the mines in
The other companies included Mbada Diamonds, Diamond Mining
Corporation (DMC), Jinan Investments, Marange Resources, Kusena and Gye Nyame.
Mnangagwa, who officially re-launched the Anjin Investments operations in Marange recently, said his government would curb the rampant corruption in the diamond sector.
Government has said the coming in of Anjin Investments would see diamond production increase significantly.
Government plans to turn the mining sector into a US$12 billion sector by 2023.
“There is corruption in the diamond sector and those found on
the wrong side of the law should be brought to book despite their
social, financial or political statuses,” Mnangagwa said.
“I am informed that there is a place in India where there is no diamond mine, but they have a US$5 billion diamond industry. I am told Zimbabwe contributes a lot of diamonds there. I don’t know how those diamonds get there,” he added.
Observers who spoke to Zim Morning Post questioned Mnangagwa’s sincerity in fighting corruption after Anjin Investments, one of the diamond mining companies with a bleak past, was brought back to the mine fields.
The Auditor General and Parliament had previously noted that Anjin
Investments never produced financial statements to account for its
diamond mining operations.
Sophia Pickles, Campaign Leader at Global Witness said the diamond
industry under Mnangagwa is the litmus test of his commitment to fighting corruption.
“Secrecy across Zimbabwe’s diamond sector has played a huge role in
aiding rogue actors to gain a foothold, allowing diamonds that should
have benefited the Zimbabwean people to be ruthlessly exploited,
putting them at risk the issue of human rights,” she said.
“As one of the country’s key industries, good governance of the
diamond sector is not only hugely significant for the economy but also
a barometer of the direction that Zimbabwe is taking more broadly in
the post-Mugabe era. It attests to the credence of Mnangagwa’s claims of a zero tolerance approach to corruption and transformed economic governance,” Pickles said.
She said Marange diamonds became infamous for their association with human rights abuses, corruption and looting.
James Mupfumi, the Director of Center For Research and Development
(CRD), said Anjin Investments “has been given a penalty kick” by the
Zimbabwe government to mine diamonds in Marange.
“After exhausting its previous concession amid non-remittal of revenue
to the fiscus, we are surprised that the same company, which is
infested by the military, was unilaterally awarded Portal B by
Mnangagwa, which is a lucrative diamond concession,” Mupfumi said.
“It cannot be denied that the re-ignition of Anjin Investments
operations in Marange is in the political interests of government and
not the local community despite glaring evidence of human rights
violations and opaque financial deals,” he added.
Farai Maguwu, the Centre For Natural Resource and Governance (CNRG), said it was shocking that Mnangagwa had re-launched and accepted a company that was on his foreign externalisation list.
“How could he bring back a company where a former Finance Minister
said Anjin Investments never remitted to Treasury? The late former
President, Robert Mugabe, implicated Anjin Investments in a $15 billon
heist. Anjin Investments also appeared on his (Mnangagwa)
externalisation list,” Maguwu said.
Mugabe estimated that US$15 billion of alluvial diamonds could have
been lost through illicit trade.
Former Ministry of Mines secretary Francis Gudyanga warned: “When it comes to diamonds, there are syndicates that are very sophisticated in the country and outside the country and many people get involved. Many beneficiaries get involved to ensure that the truth
never comes out.”
Chief Bernard Marange said he was never consulted on the
return of Anjin Investments.
An emotionally charged Chief Marange said he was angered by the way
the diamonds were being looted.
“I do not know what is going on. I see air-planes hovering in the skies
at the diamond fields, and we begin to wonder what is going on. Where
are our diamonds going to? As for myself, I do not have answers as to
where the diamonds are going,” Chief Marange said.
The late Minister of Mines Edward Chindori Chininga, who chaired the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines, in his 2013 report noted
that although the country was allowed to trade its diamonds on the world market, government never realised any meaningful contributions from the sector.
“This is despite the fact that production levels and the revenue
generated from exports have been on the increase. There are serious
discrepancies between what government receives from the sector and
what the diamond mining companies claim to have remitted to Treasury,” Chininga said then.
“Since the inception of formalised mining in Chiadzwa, the Committee
observed that the sector has been dogged with issues of transparency
and accountability in the production, marketing, fiscal contributions
and general administration. The committee noted with concern that
there was a lot of work that still needed to be done to improve on
transparency and accountability,” he said.
Chininga also raised concerns on the selection process of joint venture
partners, corporate governance systems in the joint venture companies, the smuggling and leakages of diamonds from Marange as well the mining contracts signed by government.
Chininga later died in a mysterious car accident.