THE mystery over the exportation of 3,37 million carats of diamonds by Anjin Investments in 2012 has deepened with the admission by Defence minister Sydney Sekeremayi that he signed for the shipping of the mineral, but only in his capacity as then acting Mines minister.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
Anjin, in which the military has interests, shipped out the diamonds to China’s financial hub Shanghai after 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.
Sekeramayi’s confirmation is in line with a Zimbabwe Independent story last week which revealed that the diamonds had been exported to China under murky circumstances following his approval.
Anjin, which has unleashed its lawyers on the Independent, this week held a press conference trying to deny the story while inadvertently validating it. The company said the exportation was above board as it was sanctioned by Sekeramayi.
Sekeremayi said that he signed for the export of the diamonds in his capacity as acting minister at the material period as is government routine.
“You must ask the Ministry of Mines. I signed it as acting minister, which is routine in government,” Sekeramayi said.
Informed sources have, however, revealed that although Sekeramayi signed for the export of the diamonds by Anjin, the decision to do so was not his.
“The decision to give permission to Anjin was not his but a Ministry of Mines decision,” the source said.
“There were no meetings as a decision had already been made by the ministry which was under Obert Mpofu. As acting minister it is routine to get documents which just need a ministerial signature. When he got the documents they had already been signed by the permanent secretary and the Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe.
“Sekeremayi just signed on behalf of Mpofu.”
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.
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 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,” Anjin said.
“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.”
Mpofu refused to comment when contacted last week. He referred questions to current Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa.
“It doesn’t work that way Cde, there is Chidhakwa now,” Mpofu said. Chidhakwa could not be reached for comment.
According to the KP Compliance Verification Report on Anjin conducted in November 2011, Anjin’s shareholders are Anhui and Matt Bronze registered on December 24 2009. KP failed to nail down who Matt Bronze is.
However, investigations by the Independent have shown that Matt Bronze it is a front company for the military.
Records at the Registrar of Companies show it was incorporated on April 24 2008 and is housed on the 9th floor, Travel Centre Corner, 3rd and Jason Moyo Avenue, Harare.
Zimbabwe has lost billions in diamond revenues due to corruption, looting and smuggling.
President Robert Mugabe claims US$15 billion was lost through leakages, although experts question the veracity of his figures.