RECENT resignations and dissolution of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) board has exposed how a syndicate involving top government officials and Zanu PF members are siphoning diamonds worth billions of dollars at the Chiadzwa diamond fields through secret companies.
Some ZCDC board members resigned in protest against political interference by highly placed government officials who have reportedly formed well connected syndicates involving Zanu PF party officials and their affiliates.
The board was reportedly dissolved recently by the Minister of Mines, Winstone Chitando, who claimed that their term had lapsed.
Zim Morning Post, however, is reliably informed that some of the board members had voluntarily resigned, leading to its dissolution after the government directed the ZCDC to partner 12 shadowy companies to mine diamonds in Chiadzwa.
“The major reason for these resignations and the dissolution of the board was because we refused to accept government’s instruction to us to partner some secret mining companies belonging to them,” said a former board member who declined to be named fearing victimisation.
“A lot is happening down there (Chiadzwa). There are a lot of illicit dealings at the diamond fields. Our stance as a board was to stop the continuous looting by the small companies linked to the top chefs, but our refusal to accept the corrupt tendencies saw the board being dissolved while others resigned,” said the former board member.
“The Chiadzwa diamond mine is under siege from some few corrupt individuals who are plundering national resources. As a board, we felt that we could not continue watching things go on like that,” the former board member added.
“ZCDC was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement with these 12 secret companies. What was surprising is that these companies were not going to declare dividends to ZCDC but to the owners of these companies. Their mission was to finally boot out ZCDC so that they take control of the whole of Chiadzwa through the 12 secret mining companies,” said another former board member.
An impeccable source from ZCDC confirmed that government had secretly parcelled out mining concessions to the 12 mining companies that are reportedly linked to some top government officials.
One of the companies allegedly consists of a few selected top war veterans.
Another company is said to belong to retired and top serving military personnel.
The resignation of the board authenticates research findings by a human rights organisation – Centre for Research and Development (CRD) – that there was political interference in the awarding of the mining concessions to partner ZCDC in Marange.
“It is improper for government to offer mining concessions to companies who do not have the capacity,” James Mupfumi, the CRD director, said.
“Why did government not take due diligence in ascertaining the financial capacity of the so-called companies? We need to know the beneficial ownership so as to counter the illicit financial flows in Chiadzwa that we have been talking about,” Mupfumi said.
As has become the norm, Chitando did not respond to our phone calls or reply to messages sent to him on his WhatsApp platform, despite reading them.