RAPAPORT… Following the arrest of two Indian nationals caught smuggling $2 million worth of diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange fields, the Center for Research and Development (CDR) called upon the country’s mines minister Obert Mpofu to publicly apologize for the incident and resign his post.
The CDR stated that Mpofu must “take full responsibility for the continued loss of revenue due to weak security throughout the diamond supply chain and unlicensed diamond mining activities, mainly due to his apparent failure to implement the joint work plan developed by Zimbabwe and the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.”
Similar smuggling incidents have been noted recently, including a consignment of 4,000 carats of Marange rough that was seized in Dubai this past September. Other parcels suspected to have originated from Marange were seized in Israel and Belgium in 2010. The large quantities of diamonds intercepted by authorities in India suggested that this could be the work of a well coordinated syndicate involving well placed people with tremendous power in the mining companies and in government, according to the CDR.
“The fact that government was not aware or pretended not to be aware of any missing diamonds despite such heavy losses reveals shocking levels of incompetency and / or corruption,” the group stated.
“The failure by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to improve security and transparency throughout the diamond supply chain is prejudicing the government of Zimbabwe of revenue that could make a difference in the lives of the suffering Zimbabwean people, in particular our loyal and hard working civil servants,” the group concluded.
CRD called up on immediate measures to account for the diamond losses in Zimbabwe:
•Parliament and cabinet would institute a thorough investigation into the continued smuggling of diamonds from Zimbabwe;
•The Minister of Mines and Mining Development would take full responsibility for the continued loss of revenue due to weak security throughout the diamond supply chain and unlicensed diamond mining activities;
•The Minister of Mines and Mining Development would apologize to President Robert Mugabe for betraying the trust he invested in him when he appointed him Cabinet Minister;
•The Minister of Mines and Mining Development to publicly apologize for letting down the nation and resign with immediate effect;
•Law enforcement agents would leave no stones unturned in bringing the culprits to justice, irrespective of their positions in government, political affiliation, gender or nationality;
•Zimbabweans would not participate in illicit diamond activities and to report any suspicious diamond deals to the nearest police station or government institutions;
•The SADC region, in particular Mozambique and South Africa, to emulate India by taking tough action against individuals and syndicates caught in illegal possession of (Marange) diamonds;
•Civil society in the region and in the world to investigate, name and shame individuals, syndicates, companies and governments involved in the plunder of Marange diamonds.