Anjin all but confirms the Independent’s diamonds export story despite complaints

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ANJIN Investments has all but confirmed reports that it sold more than 3 million carats of diamonds in China under shady circumstances as reported by the Zimbabwe Independent last week, even though the company today held a press conference trying to deny the story while inadvertently validating it .

Taurai Mangudhla

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The company also unleashed its lawyers on the Independent even if its long five-page statement fell short of confirming the material facts of the story.

Anjin also confirmed the Independent’s story that it owes Total Zimbabwe a lot of money for fuel, despite trying to wriggle out on the basis of technicalities.

The only difference between the Anjin statement and the Independent’s story on diamonds is that the paper reported that 3,7 million carats were sent to China under shady circumstances to bust United States sanctions, whereas the company says it shipped 3,37 million carats after getting permission from government.

The Independent had also indicated in its story that the shipment of the diamonds was officially-sanctioned by the then Intelligence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, currently Defence minister, (who was acting Mines minister at the material time), even though the circumstances under which it happened are murky.

Anjin also says the diamonds were worth US$112 million, while the Independent reported they were valued at US$200 million. The Independent used Kimberly Process’ current rates – Zimbabwe’s diamonds are currently being sold at an average rate of US$51,72 per carat – to value the diamonds at US$190 920 000.

The Independent had reported: “Informed mining executives told the Zimbabwe Independent that following the seizure of local mining companies’ diamonds worth millions — including blocking Anjin’s US$20 million deal in 2012 — by the United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces economic, trade and financial restrictions, the Chinese decided to take their diamonds to Shanghai.

“Executives say the US sanctions on local diamond companies prompted Anjin to approach then Intelligence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, currently Defence minister, (who was acting Mines minister at the time) to help bust the measures, resulting in the smuggling of the 3,7 million carats of diamonds to China.

“As a result of US interventions and the need to bust sanctions, Anjin externalised 3,7 million carats of diamonds which are currently being kept in Shanghai. At the current KP rates, the siphoned diamonds are worth US$190 920 000. Zimbabwe, which used to produce an annual average of 10 411 817,65 carats, sells its diamonds at an average price of US$51,72 per carat,” one mining executive said.

“This is a significant amount of production and money. Remember Zimbabwe produced 10,4 million carats, valued at US$538,5 million, in 2013. After that figures started going down and have now been reduced significantly due to dwindling alluvial reserves and the disruptive consolidation of diamond mines.” (Read story on Page 5 – the story involved Anjin’s debt for fuel to Total Zimbabwe).

However, Anjin held the press conference and issued a statement trying to deny both stories, while effectively confirming them.

“The misleading article in the Zimbabwe Independent of May 13 to 19, 2016, recklessly accused the company of involvement is smuggling of the 3,7 million carats from Chiadzwa to China’s financial hub Shangahi worth US$200 million,”Anjin said.

“The carats involved were not 3,7 million as reported, but 3,37 million and US$112 million was realised from the sale, well below the sensationalised figure of US$200 million.

“We also draw your attention to the fact that sold diamonds end up in various markets and destinations across the globe. As Anjin we have no control over what the buyers decide to do with the purchased diamonds and we therefore got nothing to do with the placement of diamonds on the Shangai financial services hub by the customer whether real or fictional. What is important is that it was an ordinary export that met all requirements, including the remittances to government of all taxes and fees from the sale proceeds.

“The tendering process and valuation of diamonds had the full involvement of the ministry of Mines and Mining Development though the Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe as per the norm and practice in the industry.

“As a matter of fact, and for the record that export in question was done above board with all relevant supporting documentation required for the lawful export of the diamonds from Zimbabwe. All documentation showing compliance with all requirements for diamond exports are available for inspection by the relevant stakeholders.”

Anjin, however, said Sekeramayi, as acting mines minister, approved the diamond exports, as correctly reported by the Independent. The company’s protest seems to be that the diamonds were exported under shady circumstances to due to bust US sanctions, hence its statement:

“As a matter of fact, and for the record that export in question was done above board with all relevant supporting documentation required for the lawful export of the diamonds from Zimbabwe. All documentation showing compliance with all requirements for diamond exports are available for inspection by the relevant stakeholders.”

Before publishing the story the Independent tried to call Anjin spokesman Munyaradzi Machacha in vain. It also could not find Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa, although it got comment from his predecessor Obert Mpofu – who referred questions to Chidhakwa – and the Chinese embassy. Sekeremayi only replied after the story had been sent to print, saying “you are not even embarrassed to ask lies” although Anjin now confirms he authorised the shady diamonds export.

Anjin also tried, but failed dismally to factually deny another Independent story.

“In another article in the same edition of the Zimbabwe Independent under the headline “Marange diamonds gets messier” Anjin and DTZ-OZEGIO are claimed to owe Total Zimbabwe over $1 million for unpaid fuel supply. As a matter of fact when Anjin mine was directed to shut down operations Total was owed US$377 243, 31. Anjin despite the difficult situation created by the shutdown of its operations without notice engaged Total and has since cleared that debt in full.”

However, the Independent article, which was based on documents including a letter written by Total Zimbabwe Managing Director Christopher Okonmah, said the oil company was owed a total of US$1 022 831,03 by Anjin and DTZ-OZGEO (Pvt) Ltd for unpaid supplies of fuel.

Okonmah wrote a letter dated March 15 to Chidhakwa asking him to help his company recover the debts from DTZ-OZGEO and Anjin.

“We seek to bring to your attention that two mining companies, namely Anjin and DTZ-OZGEO Investments, owe Total Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd substantial amounts of money for fuel supplied,” Okonmah said.

“They have advised us that their licences could not be renewed and they have stopped operations. The two mines mentioned above owe Total Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd a combined total of US$1 022 831,03. Please find attached their account statements. Your assistance in facilitating payment of these overdue debts would be most appreciated.”

This makes the Independent’s story very accurate, except that Anjin’s own bill to Total was US$377 243, 31 out of the sum of US$1 022 831,03 which the paper correctly stated was the total bill for both DTZ-OZGEO and Anjin.

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