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Diamonds: ZMDC shields CIO role

IN this penultimate instalment of the latest Global Witness report, Financing A Parallel Government? which makes interesting revelations about Chiadzwa, the article, through analysis, identifies which companies are controlled wholly or partially by members of the Zimbabwe’s intelligence service.

The Global Witness report sheds light on activities unfolding at Marange diamond fields, detailing who is involved and the intricate networks comprising the Chinese and Zimbabwe security forces dealing in diamonds, cotton and property sectors.


In July 2010, Cotton Ginners Association of Zimbabwe (CGAZ) filed a case at the High Court, in which they accused Sino-Zimbabwe Cotton of purchasing cotton already contracted to other companies and violating terms of their licence.

Sino-Zimbabwe Cotton denied the allegations entirely. In a media report Jimmy Zerenie, described as Sino-Zimbabwe Holding’s director, said the company had not “induced any contracted farmers to breach the law” and the application had misled the court. In the case against Sino-Zimbabwe Cotton, the judge ruled that the case had been brought in the wrong forum.


CGAZ then made an application to the Cotton Marketing Technical Committee, asking them to withdraw Sino-Zimbabwe Cotton’s licence. During meetings between the parties, Global Witness was told that Sino-Zimbabwe Cotton was represented by former (and one serving) members of the CIO.

The dispute was settled out of court and Global Witness has seen no further evidence to suggest impropriety or improper behaviour by Sino-Zimbabwe Cotton Holdings in the cotton sector.

Properties Sino-Zimbabwe Development is reported in the press and in Zimbabwean government documents seen by Global Witness to have bought include Livingstone House, Gecko Gardens hotel and conference centre, Highlands Park Hotel, the Pangolin Lodge, and Imba Matombo Lodge, all located in Harare.

Structure of Sino-Zim Development
Here we describe the corporate structure, directorships and shareholdings of related companies — first in Zimbabwe, then in Hong Kong, and finally in Singapore and the British Virgin Islands. Through this analysis companies controlled wholly or partially by members of the Zimbabwean intelligence are identified.

Sino-Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd
The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) has claimed that Sino-Zimbabwe Development is established as a joint venture with the ZMDC. However, in reality this claim merely provides cover for the involvement of CIO members.

Sino-Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd was incorporated in Zimbabwe on the May 14 2010. Its offices are at the 3rd Floor Livingstone House, Samora Machel Avenue, Harare and 14 Selous Avenue, Harare. The Zimbabwean directors of Sino-Zimbabwe Development are Gift Kalisto Machengete and Pritchard Zhou. The non-Zimbabwean directors of Sino-Zimbabwe Development are:


  • Lo Fong Hung, a Chinese citizen. Lo is a director of at least sixty other companies in the Queensway syndicate;


  • Veronica Fung Yuen, a Chinese citizen and director of at least 30 other companies in the Queensway syndicate;


  • Jimmy Zerenie, a Singaporean. All of the non-Zimbabwean directors record the same residential address, in Chisipite, Harare in company records.


One source told Global Witness that Masimba Ignatius Kamba holds a leadership position in the company, however, it has not been possible to confirm this.

Jimmy Zerenie holds 49% of the share capital of Sino-Zimbabwe Development while Gift Kalisto Machengete, owns the other 51% cent. Global Witness believes Machengete holds these shares on behalf of the CIO rather than for his personal benefit, given his senior role in the CIO, the presence of other CIO members as directors, and the funding which sources say Sam Pa gave to the CIO.

Hong Kong: Sino Zim Diamond Ltd
Jimmy Zerenie is also a director of Sino Zim Diamond Ltd, registered in Hong Kong. The other director of this Hong Kong company is Eliezer Nefussy, an Israeli citizen resident in Namibia.

Nefussy is also director of Orient Treasure International Trading Ltd, which is registered in Hong Kong and owned in turn by Samicor, registered in Namibia. Nefussy is also the chief executive of Samicor. The registered address of Sino Zim Diamond Ltd is 27/F, 8 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong.

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