Within weeks their rights to the deposits were revoked (illegally) by the Ministry of Mines and the site was declared open to all Zimbabweans. A major diamond rush developed and in a short period over 40 000 small scale miners were active on the site – see the first photo in the report.
In 2008, threatened with the loss of revenue streams from other sources because the MDC was to become part of the GNU to be established in February 2009, the Government under Mr. Mugabe took over control and 6 companies – all covered in this excellent report, assumed control and began mining the deposits.
Several hundred people were killed in this operation which was widely condemned at the time. No compensation was ever offered to ACR despite Court support.
In 2012 I made a lengthy statement to the House of Assembly on this issue and said that in my view output and sales of diamonds that year would exceed US$4 billion. My figures were never disputed or refuted and after my presentation I was publicly threatened by a senior member of the Governing Party and by the CIO who said that I was being warned and that they could “shoot me from the side of the road at any time”.
Two years later, the Zanu PF Chairman of the Mines Committee in the House made a similar presentation and was also threatened – he was killed in a “car accident” 10 days later. I have no doubt it was an assassination.
Mr. Mugabe’s statement – in a momentary lapse that is very unusual for him, confirmed the huge numbers involved. However I personally think that even his figure of US$15 billion is an under estimate. My own figure for the period from 2008 to 2016 is more like US$21 billion based on the figures I have obtained by various means.
A key player without doubt has been Robert Mhlanga who lives in considerable luxury in Sandton in South Africa and manages Mr. Mugabe’s very considerable assets in South Africa. But Sam Pa – a Chinese National who is currently imprisoned in China for corruption – is another major player.
The flow of funds has without doubt been a key factor in maintaining Mr. Mugabe’s grip on the Zimbabwe State since their discovery.
It might be useful to remember that our national debt – owed to some 40 countries and international agencies is less than US$10 billion.