Govt clears air on US$15bn myth

Govt clears air on US$15bn myth

Veronica Gwaze
Continued reports that US$15 billion worth of diamonds disappeared from mining claims in Chiadzwa are a reflection of a failure to understand the context in which the initial estimate was communicated, a senior Government official has said.

Source: Govt clears air on US$15bn myth | The Sunday Mail December 3, 2017

In an interview with The Sunday Mail last week, Presidential Press Secretary Mr George Charamba said the media had failed to comprehend that Former President, Cde Robert Mugabe, had used that figure as a metaphor to express the magnitude of his anger at the opaque nature of operations at the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

“As a matter of fact I sat in the briefing and I said to the former President, sir, where did you get the 15 billion figure? His response was that “aaa ndakangoitora from the air kuti zvityise (I just said out of the blue to stress my point) because I was angry. That’s what he told me and I am prepared to repeat it on record. It was a metaphor to indicate his outrage,” he said.

Mr Charamba said it is illogical to assume that US$15 billion could have been siphoned from the sector as the country was yet to produce diamonds worth that much.

“As a problem of externalisation, it was not a scientific figure but he (Cde Mugabe) simply wanted a clean sub sector. He was not indicating the degree of prejudice. In any case, it wouldn’t make sense given the value of this economy and world value of diamond trade.

“But also, how on Earth can a country such as Zimbabwe amass US$15 billion dollar worth of diamonds? It’s impossible! Are you aware that not even Cicil John Rhodes, with all the Kimberly area that was mined may not even have amassed that US$15 billion?

“Now what is little Zimbabwe and little Marange diamond field? Most of them our diamonds are predominantly alluvial and predominantly industrial. So to achieve US$15 billion? Come on, don’t be crazy.”

He added: “It’s a political argument which is plain stupid economically, because you are suggesting that just one sub-sector, namely the diamond, firstly does better than the whole national economy and secondly, does better even than the global diamond industry. Does that make sense? It does not.

“The global value of diamond trade is about US$14 billion, so if you say US$15 billion, you are implying that Zimbabwe alone, little Zimbabwe, with only alluvial diamonds, the greater part of which were industrial anyway and not gem quality mined diamonds, is greater than the total value of diamond trade worldwide. Does that make sense to you?”


  • comment-avatar
    Tawanda 5 years ago

    I am just wondering why my brother George is taking the pains to explain this, especially almost two after the utterance. You can’t use a figure like that as a metaphor, even if you wanted to be figurative.

  • comment-avatar
    Chris Ndlovu 5 years ago

    Less evaluate the diamond ore that was processed and the value of diamonds extracted from the ore, multiplied by the diamond sales, both legally and illegally. We will achieve a more reasonable figurative amount. The naked truth is that billions of dollars of diamonds were illegally sold through under invoicing and exorbitant costs of production. There were lots of diamonds in Marange, that’s a fact and over 7000 jobs were created in India as a result of Zimbabwean diamonds. The end value in the chain achieves the desired mentioned billions.
    The truth is that most of these companies are refusing with information regarding the extraction of diamonds to forensic investigators, in that alone raises the more speculation of the missing billions linked to the sale of Marange diamonds.

    Through investigative journalism, yes we can populate the values very accurately. Thanks to technology, through forensics audits and sampling on the mined areas, we can find out the actual value of our exported diamonds, even if the companies are refusing with the diamond rich ore taillings and dumps.