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Zimbabwe Official: KP Has Approved Sale of Diamonds

by Byo24
05 Jan 2011 at 14:46hrs | Views
The Kimberley Process has yet to confirm or respond to a statement by Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development Gift Chimanikire that the KP had given Zimbabwe permission to hold supervised sales of diamonds from the Marange diamond fields, as reported in the Zimbabwe Guardian.

According to the Guardian, Chimanikire told reporters earlier this week that the KP – whose chairmanship rotates this year to the Democratic Republic of Congo – had written to Zimbabwe to say that it could sell the diamonds.

Chimanikire noted that the reported authorization pertained to diamonds mined by the Mbada and Canadile diamond companies between 2007 and 2009. "That was the situation in December, Zimbabwe was given the go ahead to market its diamonds," the deputy minister said. He was unable to provide data on the exact quantities of diamonds Zimbabwe was reportedly allowed to sell.

In August and September of 2010, the KP allowed Zimbabwe to hold two small, supervised diamond sales on the condition that KP monitors would be allowed unfettered access to the country's diamond fields to ensure compliance with KP demands.

While Zimbabwe's Mines Minister Obert Mpofu insists that Zimbabwe has not only met but surpassed KP standards and that the continued embargo on his country's diamonds is political, reports from human rights groups active in the Marange and Chiadzwa areas indicate that human rights abuses continue.

Moreover, Bloomberg reported last week that funds from illicit trade in Zimbabwe diamonds are being funneled to Zimbabwe President Robet Mugabe's election campaign. Bloomberg quoted a number of NGO representatives who expressed concern that the diamond money would be used for political intimidation. A spokesman for Mugabe's Zanu-PF party denied that there was any corruption at the Marange diamond fields or that Zanu-PF was
benefitting from illegal diamond money.

Source - Byo24