Mugabe circle loot diamonds - report

2012-11-12 13:37

Victoria Falls - At least $2bn worth of diamonds have been stolen from Zimbabwe's eastern diamond fields and have enriched President Robert Mugabe's ruling circle, international gem dealers and criminals, according to an organisation leading the campaign against conflict diamonds.

Zimbabwe's Marange fields have seen "the biggest plunder of diamonds since Cecil Rhodes," the colonial magnate who exploited South Africa's Kimberley diamonds a century ago, charged Partnership Africa Canada, a member of the Kimberley Process, the world regulatory body on the diamond trade.

Zimbabwe's eastern Marange field - one of the world's biggest diamond deposits - has been mined since 2006 and its vast earnings could have turned around Zimbabwe's economy, battered by years of meltdown and political turmoil, the group said.

But funds from the diamond sales have not showed up in the state treasury. Instead there is evidence that millions have gone to Mugabe's cronies.

The report, released on Monday to coincide with the Zimbabwe government's conference on the diamond trade here in Victoria Falls, casts a shadow over the Mugabe regime's effort to win international respectability for its gem trade.

The report condemns the Mugabe government's control of the Marange diamond fields which have made Zimbabwe a major player in the international diamond trade.

"Marange's potential has been overshadowed by violence, smuggling, corruption and most of all, lost opportunity," the PAC report said.

"The scale of illegality is mind-blowing," and has spread to "compromise most of the diamond markets of the world," said the report.

The report describes the $2bn lost to the Zimbabwe treasury as a "conservative estimate".

In 2010 leading industry insiders, including Filip van Loere, a Belgian diamond expert working for the Mugabe government, forecast the country could produce as much as 30 million to 40 million carats a year, worth about $2bn annually, the PAC report said.

The diamonds are being mined and sold but the funds are not reaching the Zimbabwean treasury, according to the report.

Most of the diamond revenue is lost through a lack of transparency in accounting for how many diamonds are mined, how much is earned from their sales, the underpricing of gems on world markets, smuggling and a "high level of collusion" by government officials.

Records show that 10 million carats of Marange diamonds were exported to Dubai in late 2012 for $600m, which the report said is an artificially low price because the same stones were sold for double their original price when they left Dubai for Surat, India - the world's biggest diamond cutting centre.

It says the gems should have been valued at $1.2bn.

The price manipulation lost the Zimbabwe nation considerable money and "underscores a price manipulation scheme perpetrated by Indian buyers and their Zimbabwe allies, with whom they are believed to share the spoils," the report said.

In addition, the report's researchers were unable to locate a 2.5 million carat stockpile, valued at around $200m, which mysteriously disappeared in November 2011.

It also charges that $300m in diamond sales never made it to the Zimbabwe treasury in 2011.

All this has been allowed to happen under the watch of the Kimberley Process, which is supposed to prevent misuse of diamond funds.

"Calls for greater transparency have been dismissed within the Kimberley Process," it said.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti said in his 2012 budget he had been promised $600m in diamond revenue for the national treasury to help re-finance crumbling health, education and other public services. Biti said that only one-fourth of that pledge has been received.

Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, a Mugabe loyalist, insists Western economic sanctions have prevented the government from getting good prices for the diamonds on the international market. But Mpofu has repeatedly refused to give exact figures on diamond revenues, said the PAC report.

Mpofu, the mines minister since 2009, amassed an unexplained personal fortune and is linked to a "small and tight group of political and military elites who have been in charge of Marange from the very beginning" and who are personally benefiting from the diamond sales, the report alleged.

"The lack of transparency surrounding Zimbabwe's diamond revenue is a matter of critical public interest and amplifies concerns for some time that these revenues are funding a parallel government" of police and military officers and government officials loyal to Mugabe, many known to be building private mansions and buying luxury cars costing far in excess of their income from tax-funded salaries, said the report.

  • christopher.shining - 2012-11-12 13:45

    Reminds me of this government!

      alan.gernet - 2012-11-12 15:22

      Now we know why Fatboy went to Zim

      pieter.pretorius.106 - 2012-11-13 08:05

      That is the African style of running a country, the leader enrich himself as much as possible, while his people die of hunger, and his sheeple praise him for doing that (they praise him on empty bellies but they still believe he is great) Beats me!

  • Willie - 2012-11-12 13:45

    Those who call for nationalisation of mines, learn from this scenatio in ZIM

      pieter.pretorius.106 - 2012-11-13 08:06

      Why do you think does the Malemas of the world push so hard for the nationalizing of the mines? Uncle Bob let him in on his secrets and he knows how much he and his buddies can loot when they can get hold of the mines.

      kevin.watson.7906 - 2012-11-13 08:18

      Zimbabwe hasn't nationalised the Marange Diamond fields. That is why their Minister of Finance keeps saying there is no revenue flowing to the treasury from the diamond mines. They have been expropriated by a clique of ZANU PF "chefs" around Mugabe. They include Obert Mpofu,Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabes former helicopter pilot and various Generals in the security forces. A Canadian Human Rights group has detailed how the "theft" works and they estimate that $2bn has been lost to the Zimbabwean people. It also explains how Mugabe suddenly has $20m to personally hand out as agricultural inputs and will not say where the money came from. It explains how ZANU PF has spent millions buying 400 vehicles and building a huge conference centre in Gweru (a town once described as a cemetary with street lights). It also explains how Obert Mpofu, the Minister of Mines, can give away 60 tonnes of maize at each political rally he holds.

  • trudiroos.potter - 2012-11-12 13:47

    The one thing that we can be thankful for is that God doesn't sleep. Africa seems to be a big stain on the human race.

      dragonfire47 - 2012-11-12 14:03

      Africa is a stain on the universe, whatever they touch they will destroy

      timothy.louwfant - 2012-11-14 11:26

      Like you destroyed the African people neh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • charlesbronson.bronson - 2012-11-12 13:51

    He is trained by the best. Jacob "Compound" Zuma SA number one corrupted tax thief!!!!

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-11-12 13:52

    The african way, plunder as much as you like they are so dumb they will still vote for you. Why do you think Malema and Zuma like visiting Mugabe? For lessons!

  • Manesh Supal - 2012-11-12 13:54

    make malema minister of finance in Zim please Bob

      kevin.watson.7906 - 2012-11-13 08:19

      He cant the Ministry of Finance is under the control of the MDC.

  • jlouw1 - 2012-11-12 13:54

    Thats how Africa works. Steal as much as possible, while youre in charge. This happens in every country on this continent. It will never change..

      chadjason.wilson - 2012-11-12 13:59

      and when there is nothing left?

      marc.ross.965 - 2012-11-12 14:02

      Mostly true but Botswana is an exception to the rule. Hard line on corruption, bribery etc. A well run country in Africa is possible if people elect good leaders. When last did you see a Botswana refugee in SA?

      timothy.louwfant - 2012-11-14 11:28

      You wanted to keep it all to yourselves who were the first to steal and claim it`s theirs???????????

  • clive.kihn - 2012-11-12 14:00

    Mad Bob makes JZ and his cronies look like petty thieves.

      angel.moonsamy - 2012-11-12 14:14

      Sure thing But the Education system he has going in Zim is Much better thatn ours : Now that makes you think ??????

      Ze Don - 2012-11-12 14:21

      @angel: Zimbabwe HAD a good education system that was left to them by the English... now it's on a par with ours.

      clive.kihn - 2012-11-12 16:02

      Angel, Zim's education system WAS the best in Africa, even for some years after independence. But I guess most of the educated people - including the teachers - have left and created a big void. Until Mad Bob goes, it can only get worse.

      kevin.watson.7906 - 2012-11-13 08:22

      Angel, do not fool yourself. That used to be the case, but education in Zimbabwe has all but collapsed with fewer than 50% of the eligible children even attending school. The Zimbabwean education budget is $8m per annum, our tenderpreneurs in Limpopo steal more than that every year.

  • Andrew Spencer Brennan - 2012-11-12 14:02

    typical of mugabe. steal steal steal and terrorise. thats all he does

      timothy.louwfant - 2012-11-14 11:30

      Like you Stole stole stole stole stole!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • richard.russmann - 2012-11-12 14:03

    No surprises....nationalize for the enrichment of the "people" suddenly the inner circle become capitalists and enrich themselves. Oh well. Bob and his boys really need to %%#$@@# off now. 23 years of this madman.

      richard.russmann - 2012-11-12 14:04

      correction, 33 years, holy smokes.

  • sagebrush.bush - 2012-11-12 14:05

    Why am I not surprised!

      angel.moonsamy - 2012-11-12 14:14

      Cause u a few sandwichs short of a picnic Lol

      leonard.menge - 2012-11-12 17:23

      I am also not surprised you are a BUSH lineage member....given the amount of destruction your uncle has done to the world

  • bob.small.7547 - 2012-11-12 14:09

    I wonder if they had a completion between Mugabe and Zuma to see which was the most corrupt, who would win?

      timothy.louwfant - 2012-11-14 11:31

      Malan Verwoerd Smuts Kruger!!!!!!!!!!

  • deon.jansevanrensburg.58 - 2012-11-12 14:12

    In 1980, when Mugabe was elected as Zim's leader, a group of liberals cheered and celebrated in the cafeteria at Wits. They felt that they were justified and satisfied that the liberal ideology was tantamount to gospel. Some of these same liberals played a major part in the demise of Apartheid. Seeing what Mugabe has done to Zim and what the ANC are doing to SA I wonder if these liberals still feel justified and satisfied with their handywork? Or is the impending sense of yet another African disaster, as experienced by Suzman, Gordimer, Max du Preez et al, finally enlightening them to the realities of Africa?

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-12 14:29

      I have this exact same thought day after day.

      thebe.tau - 2012-11-12 14:36

      I have heard many right wingers say that, but what you people forget is that the fight was against the oppression of blacks not for the looting of resources, stop twisting things to make them appear the way you want them to appear.

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-12 14:47

      No thebe, nothing to do with 'right wing'. It's an academic point that thinking people sometimes ponder on. I'm not right wing either by the way, and I also haven't 'forgotten' anything. Assumption is the mother of all ....... Don't assume Thebe.

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-12 14:53

      No thebe, nothing to do with right wing. It'a an academic point that thinking people sometimes ponder on. Also, I am not right wing - sorry to disappoint you. Furthermore, I haven't forgotten anything. Assumption is the mother of al ... - Don't assume thebe.

      thebe.tau - 2012-11-12 15:21

      So Bigchief are you saying black people should have remained oppressed just to prevent the ANC thugs from getting their hands on the cookie jar? You missing the point of the reason behind the fight against apartheid.

      deon.jansevanrensburg.58 - 2012-11-12 16:49

      thebe.tau - What does right wing have to do with it? Am I not allowed to have an opinion of my own or should my opinion be in line with the thought-control tactics of the left. Are conservatives not allowed to also voice what they think has gone wrong or are liberals the sole decider of what is right and what is wrong, what went right and what went wrong? Maybe, taking into consideration the basket case most African countries were already by 1980, liberals should have given more thought to the process of ending Apartheid and, even more importantly, what would happen afterwards. Nadine Gordimer recently made the statement that they (the liberals) were so hell bent on destroying Apartheid that they gave no thought as to the consequences of Apartheid's sudden departure. More planning - less ideology. More realism - less populism. More practicality - less demagoguery. More accountability - less hiding behind a system that has been dead for 20 years now

      kevin.watson.7906 - 2012-11-13 08:27

      The fight against oppression made strange bedfellows. Highly principled liberals with the best motives and a bunch of gangsters in the liberation movements whose motivation was personal wealth.

  • ben.louw.5 - 2012-11-12 14:13

    Same MO as our government. Take what you can, while you can....

  • colin.fryer.7 - 2012-11-12 14:13

    To put this figure into persective, US $ 2 Billion is a little more than half the entire Zimbabwean budget for 2012. If this figure had come through Treasury the resultant boost for this country would have been profound and hugely gratifying. If this report is close to real and reflective of what is haooening on the ground in Marange, imagine what goes on between the Government/Chinese/Indian Masters ? Two Billion Dollars AWOL & still this country receives the go ahead to sell their diamonds through the Kimberly Process ?

  • leonard.menge - 2012-11-12 14:14

    How does one become a member of this circles? Do you apply someway or do go to certain universities like fort hare or do become a comrade from the so-called bush wars? I am curious I want this quick wealth

  • sthembiso.jali.50 - 2012-11-12 14:14

    Now we know why malema can't stop visiting zimbabwe.

  • terrylee.heuer - 2012-11-12 14:21

    This is exactly what will happen if the ANC nationalise the mines the inner circle will gain while the poor will suffer!!! And to think that Biti asked for money from us and had no idea what was going on within his own Govt!! (Not his fault). There is no democracy under Mugabes rule and no democracy under Zuma's rule! Corruption is the order of the day the masses are intimidated to vote for Mugabe and the same happens with the ANC!!

  • eyesears.handsfeet - 2012-11-12 14:26

    The continues saga of blood diamonds. It is never going to stop for as long as greed is the point behind it.

  • richard.zanner - 2012-11-12 14:27

    Surely nobody would think that an honorable caring leader like Mugabe would do anything to his own advantage at the expense of his own people. We all know that the whole Blood Diamond story is just an Imperialist attempt to undermine Mugabe. In case anybody reading this does not get the undertone of contempt then let me make it clear that I think that Africa will never be anything but a continent of slaves serving the few fat cats.

  • spookhuis - 2012-11-12 14:28

    And this makes news.....we all knew this years age.

  • uraharabluekisuke - 2012-11-12 14:36

    and why is this news?

  • lesmanbanda - 2012-11-12 14:45

    looting is what most african leaders join politics for

  • neil.harris.370177 - 2012-11-12 14:51

    As opposed to who doing the looting? De Beers, the mineral wealth of Africa is its greatest downfall. With it comes greed and the aspiration of getting rich over night, I wait for the day when the mines go bare and the rigs run dry, maybe only then will we realise that the only way to becoming a wealthy state and individuals is through education and human capital. This continent has been raped continuously for 500 plus years, first by the West now by its own and the East. It is without doubt, the greatest lie ever told by wall street!

  • chirnsidep - 2012-11-12 14:58

    And why do you think our government is so keen on gaining control of all our mines and mineral resources?!! Just another way to fund their royal habits instead of being servants to the people.

  • ryan.a.smith.3958 - 2012-11-12 15:02

    Most African leaders are an embarrassment

  • robert.ferreiro - 2012-11-12 15:02

    WE TALK HERE>>>>> no person in charge of the diamond industry cares...MONEY drives this boat...and what country is getting the deal....not the people...

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-11-12 15:28

    So what, nothing will happen, he didn't fight the struggle to be poor.

  • daniel.reddie.9 - 2012-11-12 15:28

    Whether or not you blame Capitalism, colonialism, African politicians, De Beers, the Indians, Belgians or anyone connected to the Zimbabwean ruling party. Greed knows no borders, does not care about the "People" or anyone for that matter. To think that the self-regulating "Kimberley Process" would ever really work when it come to conscience, needs to be locked up with the thieves who are perpetuating the " Rape of Africa".

  • tshivhombelaf - 2012-11-12 17:12

    They decorate it and call it ''nationalisation''.

  • sphala - 2012-11-12 17:15

    fat prevaricators...your mission will never be completed, not now not ever, YES, they might loot and we don't support lucre especially from poorest but that doesn't make other nation,country(european or Asia) better and instead of reporting or focusing on positive events, you report corruption now and then. I hear some say african leaders,Don't you dare say african leaders not all african leaders, we know staff about Russia, US, Britain and Greece and as well as the induce conflicts that occur in counties like Syria, South and North Sudan etc....please we need to hear good staff from now on, positive affirmative in action

  • kagiso.nuru - 2012-11-12 17:26

    robber mugarbage and his cohorts, can't say tht i'm surprised. tht maggot has been stealing from his people for ages.

  • leeroy.t.ngundu - 2012-11-12 23:33

    Robert will always be Robert that's who he is so stop mourning about what he does because that's he's character he will never change.

  • malcolm.fostersutherland - 2012-11-14 13:49

    Timothy Loufant - Whats your flipping case? Nobody is saying that the previous regime leaders were innocent. The past is the past and the sooner we in this country stop trying to dig it up as a justification for outright corruption and bad management of state affairs the sooner we can begin to live in a land that will be free of hatred and separateness as is perpetuated by your kind of comments.

  • bornwell.dennison - 2012-11-19 12:39

    The Presidents Party has a chance to prove everybody wrong,the amount of diamond being talked about is massive and although they dont publicly acknowledge it,an embarassment to the ruling party.It would be very much to ZANUs benefit if the Party could send in an international and independant team to investigate what really is going on.Everytime something like this happens,Zanu simply dismisses it as Western propaganda.I dont think so many people could be wrong-there is no smoke without fire

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