Diamond companies finally get their money

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A COMPANY commissioned to organise diamond sales in Dubai on behalf of Zimbabwe, Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE) which was illegally holding on to US$30 million realised from the sale of diamonds has started disbursing the money to treasury.

Elias Mambo

Sources at one of the affected diamond mining companies told the Zimbabwe Independent that transfers started reflecting in its bank accounts on Tuesday.

Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa confirmed all mining companies which were expecting payments had received them.

“I have been informed that only one company is yet to receive its payment, that is Marange Resources,” Chidhakwa said yesterday.

Almost 400 000 carats were exported to the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE) last month under a market-testing exercise. Government roped in Global Diamond Tenders to link it with potential buyers.

Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Gye Nyame, DMC, Kusena, Anjin and Jinan sent their diamonds to the auction.

The diamonds were reportedly sold at an average price of US$76 per carat, marking a 5, 4 % improvement from the second Antwerp sale which attracted US$72 per carat. Of the US$30 million realised US$4, 39 million was destined for Treasury while Global Diamond Tenders which facilitated the deals was entitled to 4 % of the total proceeds.

Last week Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said that the DDE “have failed the test” after failing to disburse the proceeds within an agreed period.

“Obviously, the delay is affecting us,” Chinamasa was quoted as saying.

“We could have used that money to fund some of the projects awaiting completion. Naturally the delay is crippling the mining companies that need the money to run operations.

“Naturally, they (Dubai Diamond Exchange) have failed the test. Remember, when we went there we were testing the market. Why would we continue selling our diamonds in Dubai under such conditions?” he said.

The delays in payments were seen as potentially embarrassing for President Robert Mugabe’s given that he travelled to Dubai last month to study DDE’s operations where he gave a glowing account of the exchange.

Mugabe also set up an embassy in the UAE which insiders said would not have major diplomatic tasks other than overseeing the sale of the country’s diamonds.

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