General Solomon Mujuru’s former partner in the River Ranch Diamond Mine, Adel Aujan, has just been named one of the richest Arabs with a net worth of $3.4 billion.
Although he was ranked number 28, and his net worth was one-eighth that of the richest Arab Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al Saud whose wealth was pegged at $25.9 billion, Aujan’s fortune was enough to finance Zimbabwe’s entire current budget for 2013.
Aujan wrestled River Ranch from Bubye Minerals, which was owned by Michael and Adele Farquhar, in 2004 in an internal coup and invited Solomon Mujuru and his business partner Tirivanhu Mudariki to join him. They were given a 20percent stake.
River Ranch was barred from selling its diamonds because of the ownership dispute but somehow it managed to bring in a United Nations-owned company African Management Services Company to help it out.
Mujuru was on the United States and European Union sanctions which prohibited organisations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund from doing business with Zimbabwe and designated persons.
AMSCO was owned by the International Finance Corporation an arm of the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and several European development institutions.
There has never been any explanation as to what happened to the diamonds that the company mined from2004 to mid 2007 when AMSCO pulled out.
The company claimed that they were being stockpiled, but there has never been any mention of the disposal of the stockpile.
There were, however, allegations that diamonds were being smuggled out of the country using UNDP registered vehicles.
Adele, who fought a bitter struggle with Mujuru over the ownership of the mine, believes that Mujuru, who died in a mysterious fire, was used by Aujan and did not benefit much from the partnership.
Aujan is now selling the mine, which by now should be an empty shell.
He still owns a hotel at the Victoria Falls, the Stanley and Livingstone.