Minister Steals 125 000 Carats Of Diamonds
A Mugabe Minister has been revealed in court to have sent police to confiscate more than 124 000 carats of diamonds from the offices of Africa Consolidated Resources. The police have never issued a receipt for the diamonds, and those diamonds have never been accounted for, either in government or anywhere else. So no one is sure whether it was the Minister who took the diamonds or whether they were confiscated officially by government.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 11 October 2009
ZANU PF Mines Minister under the previous ZANU PF-only government stole about 125 000 carats of diamonds from the offices of the company that previously held the licence for the Chiadzwa Diamond Fields.
Police sent in to raid the offices of the company took away the diamonds, Africa Consolidated Resources, according to information revealed in court. They did not give receipt for the diamonds and instead said that they had been send by Mines Minister Amos Midzi.
The police did not deny the allegations in court, leading the court to slam them for doing things that were outside the law.
These diamonds are part of the resources that are being used by ZANU PF to fund their war chest for the next election.
Only last week, a senior MDC minister in the Inclusive Government told me that they had reliable information that ZANU PF's war chest now stands at US$300 million. They intend to use this to simply overwhelm the opposition in the next election, buying votes and voters as well as campaign machinery like cars and mobile constituency offices.
And, as I have previously said on SW Radio and on this blog, senior security officials who speak to us have told us that there are buckets of diamonds kept in the vaults of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and that these are being sold in tranches, with the money split between the security forces and ZANU PF.
The details of the theft of these diamonds from the offices of ACR give credence to the talk about about the ZANU PF war chest, which I had not published here because I had a hard time believing that ZANU PF could be sitting on that much money.
All this is emerging as the Inclusive Government in Zimbabwe, led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe, revealed last week that it will appeal against a court ruling confirming the rights of Africa Consolidated Resources over the Chiadzwa Diamond fields.
They have no intention of letting go.
Although Mugabe said during the opening of parliament that two investors have been identified for the Diamond Fields, it is unlikely that these investors will want to pursue the diamond claims, especially in light of the fact that ACR will challenge the entry of any new players until the Zimbabwe government settles with ACR over not only the diamond claims, but also the loose diamonds stolen from their offices.
Two months ago, government complained that ACR was scaring off potential investors, writing to them and threatening them for dealing in "stolen property."
But, with a local court having confirmed that the ACR claim is still valid, the government will have to tread carefully because how they handle this (for example, their usual way of putting pressure on the courts to make unreasonable rulings), will impact directly on how this country is viewed as an investment destination in which private property rights are respected.
Still, we can simply confirm that the ruling elite in Zimbabwe is lining its pockets at the expense of national development. The depressing thing is that the new people in government, the MDC, are being sucked into this, unable to resist the lure of filthy lucre.
By the time they are finished, this country will be on its knees, a laughing stock, dying of thirst with its feet in clean, clear water.