Tendai Kamhungira 4 May 2017
HARARE – Mines minister Walter Chidakwa has been caught in the eye of a
storm after he lied that all the legal issues surrounding government’s
takeover of the Chiadzwa diamond fields have been completed.
This comes at a time the newly-formed government mining company – Zimbabwe
Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) – is still embroiled in legal battles
with Grandwell Holdings, which holds a 50 percent stake in Mbada Diamonds.
It is also on the back of the Daniel Shumba-led parliamentary Mines
portfolio committee’s unearthing of massive corruption and recommendation
of the expulsion of Mines ministry secretary Francis Gudyanga.
Norton MP Temba Mliswa has since demanded Chidakwa’s resignation for
failing to run his ministry.
According to State media, Chidakwa told journalists on the sidelines of
the Kimberly Process (KP) Intercessional meetings in Perth, Western
Australia on Monday that all legal issues around the consolidation of the
diamond mining sector had been completed.
“I am very happy to note that all the legal issues have now been resolved
particularly with the Chinese in relation to the activities of Jinan and
Anjin. Jinan have already dismantled and taken away their equipment.
“All in all, we are on the right path towards consolidation. No one is
fighting with us anymore . . . what remains is the vigour to go on the
ground and be able to unlock full value, particularly on the
conglomerates,” Chidakwa said.
Barely a week ago, ZCDC, was before the High Court, after Grandwell
Holdings accused it of grabbing its property and looting its diamond ore,
amid claims that the government-owned company was failing to break even.
Grandwell Holdings accused the government-owned company of failing to
comply with a court order barring it from looting the diamond ore. The
High Court went on to give ZCDC an ultimatum to comply with the court
order or face a bar from prosecuting its appeal.
In the application, Grandwell Holdings cited ZCDC, commissioner-general of
police Augustine Chihuri and Mbada Diamonds as respondents.
“It is ordered that: pending the appeal filed by the first respondent
(ZCDC) under case number SC 159/2017, the first and second respondents
(Chihuri) and those acting on their behalf be and are hereby interdicted
from collecting, from third respondent’s (Mbada) concession area, diamond
ore mined by the third respondent, accessing areas secured by security
personnel of the third respondent or otherwise interfering in any manner
with such security arrangements in relation to the said concession area as
per interim relief granted by this honourable court on the 24th of
“Should the first and second respondents fail to comply with paragraph 1
above and to purge their failure to comply with the interim order granted
by Justice Tsanga on the 24th of February 2017 under case number 1290/17,
they shall be denied audience before this honourable court and any papers
filed by them shall be struck out of the record,” the court ruled.
Mbada was among one of the companies that were forced to leave the
diamond-rich fields in Chiadzwa by the government early last year to pave
way for the establishment of ZCDC.
However, the firm was granted a court order allowing its security
personnel to return to Chiadzwa and secure its equipment, diamond ore and
unprocessed diamonds kept in a vault.