The report, Diamonds: A Good Deal for Zimbabwe?, was released by the UK based civil society group Global Witness on Tuesday and reveals that several directors of the Chinese owned Anjin mining company are drawn from the Zimbabwean military and police.
This includes; Martin Rushwaya, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Defense, Oliver Chibage and Nonkosi M. Ncube, both police commissioners and Munyaradzi Machacha, a ZANU PF director of publications. Also listed as non executive board members are Morris Masunungure, a former army officer and Romeo Daniel Mutsvunguma, a retired army Colonel in the Zimbabwe Defence Force.
Mustvunguma is also alleged by Human Rights Watch to have participated in the politically motivated violence in 2008, which saw hundreds of opposition supporters murdered and thousands more tortured and beaten by ZANU PF loyalists.
The Global Witness report goes on to reveal that 25% the Mbada mining firm has been given to a company linked with Robert Mhlanga, a known ally and former employee of Robert Mugabe’s. Mhlanga was allegedly appointed by Mugabe to head the company, which is said to have silent Chinese military partners. In 2010, it was alleged by the UK Daily Mail that the Mbada firm was the public face of a diamonds for arms deals between Zimbabwe and China, with China in effect funding Mugabe’s war chest.
The Global Witness report says that Mbada’s ownership details are far more ‘opaque’ that Anjin’s, with a ‘complex structure’. The report says that Mbada’s associated companies are located in ‘secrecy jurisdictions’ or tax havens including Mauritius, Hong Kong, British Virgin Islands and Dubai.
“The simple question that is raised is, where is the diamond money going? Zimbabwe desperately needs diamond revenues for health and education services, but there is no transparency about who the beneficiaries are,” said the report’s author Nick Donovan.
Donovan also told SW Radio Africa: “Zimbabwe must ensure that diamond mining companies are not used as an off-budget cash cow by ZANU PF loyalists in the military and police. If the next election is accompanied by violence there’s a real risk that any bloodshed will be funded by diamond revenues.”
“Corporate anonymity and the use of secrecy jurisdictions can be used to hide the true beneficiaries of business deals and have the potential to conceal corruption, tax avoidance or off-budget government spending. The Zimbabwean government and Mbada and also Anjin should immediately publish all contracts and details of revenue flows to allay such fears,” said Donovan.
The Global Witness campaigner said that the group’s key recommendations are for the Zim government to pass legislation that bans serving members in Zimbabwe’s security sector from exerting any control over mining companies. Donovan also said that an audit of every concession granted so far in Chiadzwa must be undertaken and the details published “to ensure the beneficiaries of these diamonds become the people of Zimbabwe.” – SW Radio Africa NewsNews