Transparency and accountability reforms in the mining sector are a key indicator to whether government is committed to curb corruption, to abide by the Constitution and to leverage the country’s abundant mineral wealth for socio-economic turnaround.
Zimbabweans need a clear picture of how the new government is managing the country’s mineral wealth: platinum, diamonds, lithium and gold among others.
Diamonds, because of their characteristics as items of high value which are easy to carry makes the stones attractive to criminals.
Money laundering risk exposure in the trade of diamonds is well articulated in the watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) 2013 report.
Unarguably, the army’s involvement in Marange did not deliver any tangible development outcome, the $100 million defence college being the only exception.
Likewise, the army gained key positions in the new government which include the offices of the Vice President, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The history of Anjin’s diamond mining activities is murky. From the Auditor General Mildred Chiri’s 2011 report, it can be gleaned ZMDC was not committed to recover money from the proceeds of disposing 40 percent equity in Anjin to the army.
In her 2016 report, Chiri said her office could not verify Anjin’s diamond earnings because the company could not avail its audited books.
During the peak period, diamond exports by value and volume, in 2012, the former Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti singled out Anjin for not paying taxes.
Zimbabwe exported 14 957 648.98 carats worth $740 998 088.16 in 2012 according to Kimberly Process statistics.
In July 2017, the private Zimbabwe Independent reported that Chinese investors syphoned $255 million from Anjin.
If the new government of Emmerson Mnangagwa is serious about transparency and tackling corruption, it must start by providing answers around the Marange diamonds.
By Mukasiri Sibanda for The Source