Zimbabwe ropes in company associated with looting the country’s diamonds


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A company that has teamed up with the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency to undertake a survey to gauge investor sentiment in the country was an investor in a company that was accused of looting diamonds from the River Ranch Diamond Mine in Beitbridge although the allegations were never proven.

The International Finance Corporation, the commercial arm of the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the African Development Bank were sponsors of the African Management Services Company (AMSCO) which seconded management to River Ranch under very controversial circumstances.

AMSCO was initially based in the Netherlands but later moved to Johannesburg and was supposed to assist small and medium enterprises owned by Africans.

It was, however, involved with River Ranch from November 2004 to July 2007 where it seconded five managers.

At the time, the ownership of River Ranch was in dispute after Saudi Arabian billionaire Adel Aujan partnered former army commander Solomon Mujuru and took over the mine from Bubye Minerals which was owned by Michael and Adele Farquhar.

The mine was, therefore, not supposed to sell its diamonds because of the dispute.

Besides, Mujuru was under United States sanctions.

The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA) passed by the United States in December 2001 specifically barred any international financial institutions or multilateral development banks from dealing with Zimbabwe.

The act lists the multilateral development banks affected as:

  • the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development ( World Bakk),
  • the International Development Association,
  • the International Finance Corporation,
  • the Inter-American Development Bank,
  • the Asian Development Bank,
  • the Inter-American Investment Corporation,
  • the African Development Bank,
  • the African Development Fund,
  • the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and
  • the Multilateral Investment Guaranty Agency.

Aujan, who held 80% of River Ranch, was not an African and was a billionaire ranked the 28th richest Arab with a net worth of US$3.4 billion.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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