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CIO company looted Zimbabwe diamonds

by Staff reporter
22 Sep 2017 at 20:40hrs | Views
DESPITE reports that Kusena, a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)-owned company, which had mining rights in Chiadzwa, never took off, fresh evidence shows it operated under cover with a new name until it folded into the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) in October 2015, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

In its latest report entitled: An Inside Job, Global Witness, an international diamond watchdog, Global Witness, says Kusena continued to operate long after its joint-venture partners, Sino-Zim (Private) Limited, pulled out after being allocated blocks H and D which had a total of area of 4 893 hectares.

The report says the CIO company, changed its name to Zimdiamonds and covertly mined diamonds. "The diamonds have been traded in Antwerp and Dubai, circulating freely on international markets, despite the risk they may have funded human rights violations," says the report.

"This risk is set to continue, with the company now reportedly folded into the new government-led Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC)."

In 2013, a Human Rights Watch report concluded that "the CIO has operated more as the intelligence arm of the Zanu-PF and has been implicated in serious human rights abuses against Zanu-PF's political opponents".

This news article helps the ongoing investigation into the Marange alluvial diamonds discovery and subsequent plundering at various stages by state and non-state actors.

The special series is supported by the Investigative Journalism Fund.

The Independent investigations has previously revealed that the military and other security forces were major beneficiaries of the Marange diamonds.

"The CIO also has a history of closely guarding its finances, recognising that this is an effective means of shielding itself from unwanted oversight and accountability. Unlike other elements of Zimbabwe's security services, the organisation's budget does not appear in Zimbabwe's Annual Budget Estimates," the report further reads.

"Prior to the adoption of Zimbabwe's 2013 Constitution the CIO did not even have any formal legal status, and instead fell directly under the President's Office. While the 2013 Constitution does expressly include reference to the ‘intelligence services' as part of Zimbabwe's security apparatus, to date no law has been tabled in Parliament to regulate its activities."
After the withdrawal of the private investor in Sino-Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) reported that they had entirely taken over operations in the two blocks which the joint venture had mined.

Publicly, Kusena Diamonds was owned entirely by ZMDC on behalf of government. Documents seen by Global Witness suggest the CIO instead set up the company to secure a secret off-the-books source of financing for its operations.

"A page of the ZMDC's own website titled ‘Diamond Mining' indicates a clear connection between the two companies. In the list of companies mining in Marange, Kusena is listed as "Kusena/Zimbabwe Diamonds," it says.

This information has since been removed from the ZMDC website.

"Evidence collected by Global Witness also suggests that Zimdiamonds, Sino-Zimbabwe and Kusena are inter-linked, and that senior members of the CIO maintained interests in all three entities," says the report.

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