CSO’s demand diamond audit in Zimbabwe

via CSO’s demand diamond audit | The Zimbabwean 26.03.14 by Clayton Masekesa

Civic Society groups in Manicaland have claimed the Marange diamonds were never meant for Zimbabweans, as three-quarters of the revenue is lining the pockets of unscrupulous foreign investors and local individuals.

The groups have accused the Zanu (PF) government of stifling diamond revenue through the calculated and deliberate practices.

In an interview with The Zimbabwean, James Mupfumi, the acting director of The Centre for Research and Development (CRD), reflected on the recent Antwerp diamond sales in Belgium, where government received a paltry $11.5m out of the $80.5m realised from the sale. He said this was a mockery.

He said all mining operations in Marange should stop to allow for an independent and comprehensive audit of all diamond mining companies.

Mupfumi said: “We demand this audit to be carried out and it must be made public. We know that the potential of diamonds in Marange to accrue the much needed revenue that could resuscitate the ailing Zimbabwe economy and uplift the living standards of vulnerable communities has been stifled by calculated practices by responsible authorities in government.”

Mupfumi blamed the government for the way it allocated licences and for concealing ownership.

“We have noted that there are opaque financial terms of joint ventures with the mining companies and leakages of revenue to the treasury,” explained Mupfumi.

“It dampens our spirits to realise that government spends millions in taxpayers’ money from the over-strained economy to support the anti sanctions lobby, while covertly parcelling national resources to negative entities who have no interest in the socio-economic uplifting of the Zimbabwean people,” said Freeman Bhoso, the Director of Zimbabwe Natural Resource Dialogue Forum (ZNRDF).