In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean, the Zanu (PF) former secretary for administration, who was recently fired from the party for “breaching protocol”, confirmed the widely shared views that Marange diamonds were looted by senior ruling party officials.
Mutasa has for a long time supported Joice Mujuru, Mnangagwa’s rival in the battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe, and has filed a Constitutional Court application to challenge the Zanu (PF) December congress, which he insists was unconstitutional.
“Those who benefitted from diamonds in Chiadzwa are (VP Emmerson) Mnangagwa and others from the army including a company called Anjin,” said Mutasa.
A 2004 United Nations report also named Mnangagwa as one of the many officials, military figures and international corporate agents who had looted diamonds and other precious minerals from war-ravaged Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Zimbabwe had sent troops to the DRC in 1998 to rescue the government of the late Laurent Kabila from a rebel onslaught, and high ranking officials from government, including army generals, were reported to have amassed overnight riches through the minerals smuggling.
Mnangagwa has also been linked to an underground illegal gold mining syndicate in the Midlands province but he has denied the reports.
There are three shareholders in Anjin – the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (10 percent), Chinese firm Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company (50 percent) and The Zimbabwe National Army (40 percent). The defence forces commander, Constantine Chiwenga, is believed to be a strong Mnangagwa ally.
In 2013, former ZMDC board chair Goodwills Masimirembwa confirmed that the army owned shares in Anjin when he addressed journalist in Mutare.
As a result of the massive diamond looting, the treasury failed to realise taxes and royalties, said Mutasa. “When we still had the government of national unity, (Finance Minister Tendai) Biti kept asking where the diamond money was going as it was not finding its way to treasury,” he said.
Biti was at loggerheads with Zanu (PF) cabinet ministers then, as he boldly declared that diamonds revenue was not coming to the national fiscus in 2011 and 2012 and hinted at large-scale looting.
Civil society organisations have also raised concerns over massive looting in Chiadzwa.
Mutasa further indicated that former Manicaland Provincial State Minister Chris Mushohwe was also part of the cartel that benefitted from the diamond loot at the expense of the entire nation.
During his tenure as Zanu (PF) secretary of administration, Mutasa blew the whistle against former party members who were accused of siphoning diamond funds from Marange firms. This resulted in the suspension of provincial chairperson Mike Madiro, his deputy Dorothy Mabika, provincial youth chairperson Tawanda Mukodza, youth secretary for security Admire Mahachi, youth secretary for information and publicity Masimba Kangai and former District Coordinating Committee chairperson for Mutare Urban Clever Muparutsa.
The members allegedly received a combined $700,000 from Chiadzwa firms. Mutasa also hinted that he had gathered documented evidence that other party stalwarts from the Women’s League were extorting funds from Chiadzwa.
He was dislodged from his position in a nasty factional war threatening to split Zanu (PF) before he could deal with the matter.
In 2012, Global Witness released an investigative report that revealed the intricate link between Zanu (PF) and the military elite in shadowy joint venture companies that were used to loot diamonds in 2008, with part of the proceeds being used to fund human rights abuses.
“Research by Global Witness suggests that links between diamond companies in the controversial Marange diamond fields and military, police and intelligence organisations loyal to President Mugabe may be continuing to fund repression.
“These groups were implicated in widespread and systematic violence during the 2008 elections, during which at least 200 people were killed whilst thousands were tortured and beaten. Human rights abuses in Marange have continued since the army’s seizure of the diamond fields in 2008,” said the report.
“Our investigations reveal how opaque company structures can hide who benefits from diamond revenues and provide cover for the military and secret police. State-owned diamond mining entity ZMDC is the nominal joint venture partner in Marange’s main diamond companies. However our findings indicate that the true beneficiaries of some Marange concessions, are often obscured but include members of the security forces and individuals linked to the Zanu (PF) leadership,” added the researchers.
The report also identified a Hong Kong-based Chinese national, Sam Pa, as an international agent who had financed the secret police in return for diamonds and other business opportunities.Post published in: Business