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$130 million diamonds disappear in Zimbabwe

by Staff Reporter
27 Sep 2013 at 14:19hrs | Views
A POLICE probe team tasked to investigate the $6 million diamond saga involving former Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) board chairman Godwills Masimirembwa has reportedly widened its net to include unearthing the disappearance of gems worth $130 million.

The diamonds went missing following the disbandment of a joint venture deal between Core Mining and Mineral Resources and government through ZMDC.

Core Mining is owned by Lovemore Kurotwi, who has been taken to court over allegations of prejudicing government of a potential $2 billion investment in diamond mining.

Impeccable sources told NewsDay yesterday that the investigators were now keen on establishing what became of the 1,3 million carats of the gems following the termination of the joint venture.

Core Mining and ZMDC had formed a joint venture which operated as Canadile Miners.

Core Mining director Kurotwi is on record as having told the High Court that his firm left over 1,3 million carats of diamonds, when ZMDC, under the chairmanship of Masimirembwa, allegedly prematurely terminated the joint venture agreement, forcing him out without his dividends.

Kurotwi further told the court that the joint venture had over $10 million in cash, which money was supposed to be paid as dividends between the firms with Core Mining getting over $3,5 million, but it never received anything.

During the trial of Kurotwi, one of the State witnesses, ZMDC board member Ashton Ndlovu, told High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu that the $3,5 million which Core Mining was supposed to have received as dividends could not be accounted for at ZMDC.

Former Finance minister Tendai Biti yesterday told a civil society roundtable discussion that: "There are frightening things, shocking things that are going to come out of this Masimirembwa thing.

"You see, when I was minister, officials would not tell me what was happening because they were afraid of being called sell-outs, but the truth is coming out now."

Biti said there was need for transparency in the sale of diamonds and other government activities.

He said his successor as Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa would also face the problem of "lack of fiscal leg room" against "huge expectations from government".

Meanwhile, Masimirembwa told NewsDay yesterday that he had not yet been interrogated by either the police or officials from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission over the $6 million bribery allegation against him made public by President Robert Mugabe a fortnight ago.

"No one has come to me as yet," he said.

"I just read it in the papers that they are investigating."

Source - newsday