Zimbabwe Diamonds Auctioned for a Song

ZIMBABWE could have lost millions of dollars in a diamond sale after Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) authorised Sabi Gold Mine to auction gems for a song, businessdigest can reveal.

Documents in our possession show that Sabi sold gemstones weighing 31,5 kg  (157 968,71 carats) for US$3,50 per carat and realised US$553 890,49 on March 6 this year.
Ironically other diamonds classified as near gem diamonds on MMCZ’s tender results show that the lowest price at the auction for low quality stones was US$15,86 per carat.
In other trades, gem stones fetched the highest price of US$449 per carat.
The diamonds were sold to Raydium BVBA, a Belgian firm based in Anterwerp.
MMCZ officials said the sale in question involved rough industrial diamonds.
But signed MMCZ documents involved rough gem diamonds. Invoice number PD002/02/09 dated March 6 2009, also showed that the proceeds of the sale would be paid into an account held at African Banking Corporation (ABC) account number 04039498.
Swift codes — a transfer code for foreign and external wire transfers — was made by the Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas.
The swift code for the particular sale was BKTRUS33 and another Fedwire FW021001033.
Part of the invoice reads: “100% value to be made by TT through Deutsche Bank Company Americas, 280 Park Avenue, New York, NY10017 USA…Beneficiary as Kimberworth Investments p/l. Upon receipt of payment ABC Zimbabwe to advise Kimberworth Investments of receipt of funds.”
Sabi Gold Mine is Kimberworth’s trade name.
MMCZ had not replied to our enquiries at the time of going to press.
But questions on how the parastatal in charge of marketing of minerals arrived at the price of US$3,50 remain unclear.
MMCZ is expected to conduct a diamond auction next month, according to sources.
Meanwhile another anomaly has been dug up according to our investigations. MMCZ in another shady deal sold diamonds to a company that misrepresented itself to the parastatatal’s management.
A company owned and run by Lebanese national Imad Ahmad chairman of PureDiam did business with the parastatal allegedly using an import licence for Atom DMCC, a reputable Dubai-based diamond trading company.
But a background check discovered that Ahmad had no business relationship with ATOM DMCC.
Documents show that PureDiam bought a consignment of industrial diamonds valued at US$478 197.
The payment was wired to MMCZ’s African Banking Corporation (ABC) account number 1007595390201.
Efforts to reach Ahmad proved fruitless as his business numbers do not take incoming calls.
Our investigations show that there is no other information on PureDiam.
PureDiam does not have a website. With such business practices, Zimbabwean diamonds could end up on the black market or funding a war elsewhere in the world.
Meanwhile, international diamond industry watchdogs allege security at Marange is inadequate but Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) management engaged Chitkem Security (Pvt) Limited to run security in and around the mine.
Investigations revealed that ZMDC granted the security company — owned by former Zanu PF MP for Murehwa North Victor Chitongo — a contract to provide security at the Marange diamond fields.
Chitongo according to our investigations is a founding director of the security company.
ZMDC chief Dominic Mubaiwa confirmed that the contract was granted to Chitkem.
He said: “We floated a tender and a lot of companies applied but when the companies went on a site visit, most of them backed off saying they did not have capacity. So we engaged Chitkem and Fawcett.”
In the past, security at the diamond fields was provided by the army and the police but allegations of human rights abuses against the security forces forced government to remove military personnel from the mines. Government is still to comply fully.
A Kimberly Process Certification team that was in the country this year attacked government for militarising the fields. The delegation urged government to consider private security prompting ZMDC to hire the services of Chitkem.
Other companies such as River Ranch and Murowa have conformed to international best standards.

 

Chris Muronzi

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