Minister lied about diamond claims: ACR

obert_mpofuHARARE British firm African Consolidated Resources (ACR) yesterday accused Mines Minister Obert Mpofu (pictured) of misleading the nation about the status of its operations in Zimbabwe, insisting that there were no irregularities in the acquisition of any of its mining claims.

Mpofu told the state media this week that the government planned to cancel mining claims for gold, platinum and other minerals that were fraudulently acquired by ACR.

But ACR chief executive Andrew Cranswick insisted yesterday that the companys operations in Zimbabwe are above board.

The board of ACR wishes to confirm categorically that there were no irregularities in the acquisition of any of its mining claims or licences known to it, and that, in its opinion having taken appropriate advice, none of them were acquired fraudulently, he said in a statement.

He said ACR was yet to receive any formal communication from Mpofu to the effect that its licences are being cancelled.

The move to strip the United Kingdom-incorporate firm of all its Zimbabwean claims comes at a time ACR chief executive Andrew Cranswick is facing lawsuits over leaked United States diplomatic linking senior Zimbabwe government officials to diamond smuggling.

The cables published by WikiLeaks two weeks ago claimed that the businessman told US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, that senior Harare government officials including President Robert Mugabes wife Grace, central bank governor Gideon Gono and intelligence chief Happyton Bonyongwe have been looting diamonds from the controversial Marange fields.

Gono and Bonyongwe are both claiming damages from Cranswick over what they claim is false information contained in the leaked documents that have been published by newspaper all over the world.

Cranswick has denied ever providing such information to the American diplomat.

ACR has been in dispute with the Zimbabwe Ministry of Mines since March 2007 in connection with its alluvial diamond discovery at Marange which discovery has now attracted worldwide attention.

ACR continues to assert that it is the rightful legal owner of the claims on which its discovery was made, and will continue to do all it can to work with the government to resolve the Marange issue in a transparent manner for the benefit of all stakeholders, said Cranswick.

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