“The country is starving; civil servants are going on strike; hospitals have no medicine; agriculture has no chemicals and schools have no books. We cannot continue to be playing around like you guys are doing. Are our diamonds meant to benefit certain individuals or it is intended to benefit the nation?” – Edward Chindori-Chininga, Chairman, Mines and Energy Committee Before He Went Quiet
As far back as June this year Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), one of the Kimberley Process civil society partners published a report in which it stated that the Canadile Board of Directors was composed of a Zanu (PF) Gukurahundi war criminal, a former mercenary who served in Sierra Leone, and most wanted Israeli and Thai smugglers.
We published the report here under the title The Rape of Chiadzwa.
But in the ongoing court case in which Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation officials are being prosecuted, the prosecutors and the complainant, ZMDC chairman, Godwills Masimirembwa, make it seem as if this is a recent discovery.
Masimirembwa announced the blacklisting of Canadile Mines directors amid allegations that some of them were blood diamond dealers who could have been involved in civil wars in Sierra Leone, Angola and the DRC, as if this was a recent discovery.
But the PAC report which was part of the discussions and negotiations about whether Zimbabwe should receive KP certification shows that the Minister of Mines and the ZMDC chairman could not have been unaware of the backgrounds of their joint venture partners.
The report also implicates Grace Mugabe, the President’s wife, as allegedly involved with Canadile, through her close relationship to Jack Hsieh, otherwise known as Hsieh Ping-Sung - a South African national who operates a diamond cutting facility in Qingdao, on China’s east coast.
The three confirmed board members for Mbada Diamonds, the company that is mining the most diamonds, were Sithengisiso Mpofu, the Minister of Mines' sister-in-law, and his personal assistant Dingiswayo Ndlovu.
PAC observed in the report that the choice of board members representing the state's interest raised many questions about what, if any, due diligence was undertaken by the ZMDC before making the appointments.
"Insiders and family relations aside, almost none of the board members have any experience in the legitimate diamond mining business.
“Worse still, at least half of Canadile’s board is implicated in serious illegality of one kind or another. They are, as one Zimbabwean paper called them, “shady individuals and fugitives from justice”, said PAC in the June report.
The chairman of Mbada is Robert Mhlanga Robert Mugabe’s former personal helicopter pilot.
The chairman of Canadile, Lovemore Kurotwi, now released on a technicality, was said to be a former senior military officer who played a major role in alleged war crimes, including the Matabeleland massacres.
Another board member Adrian Taylor, was said to be a former mercenary who served in Sierra Leone during that country’s struggle to contain the flow of blood diamonds.
Yehuda Licht, another board member, was said to be an Israeli diamond dealer who spent time in an Angolan prison for diamond smuggling offenses.
Another board member, Ashok Pandeya was said to be on Thailand’s most wanted list for smuggling diamonds worth more than $100 million.
Minister of Mines Mpofu (Zanu PF) was said to have close links to the operations of Canadile and suspected of being an anonymous board member.
Zanu (PF), through Mpofu, has refused to undertake open and transparent mining, working with reputable international diamond mining and marketing companies, which could instantly turn the fortunes of Zimbabweans through income from diamonds.
Mpofu even denied a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee access to Chiadzwa to see what is going on. Mpofu even claimed that it was not possible to find clean diamond dealers to work with.
Instead we have an opaque system of allocation, through patronage, of the diamond mining claims to little known players, and the involvement of the same in developing a Diamond Technology Centre in Mashonaland West, 250 miles away from Marange where the diamonds are.
Nothing has so far come out of proposal to nationalise the diamonds and have them mined on behalf of the government for the direct benefit of the people of Zimbabwe.
The PAC report goes deep into the political economy of the diamond industry, takes the researchers to Villa de Manica to confirm open trade in uncertified diamonds, with the complicit knowledge of both Zimbabwean and Mozambican officials, and also says Marange Diamonds, without Kimberley Certification, are finding their way to Antwerp, the Belgiam world diamond trading centre, to Dubai and and to Hong Kong - all countries which claim to adhere to the Kimberley Certification Scheme.
Read the Full Report Here.