ANJIN Investments received US$120 million for its 3,37 million carats of diamonds which were clandestinely exported to China in 2012 in an effort to bust United States sanctions, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.
Elias Mambo/Obey Manayiti
This news article is part of an ongoing ground-breaking investigation into the Marange alluvial diamonds discovery and subsequent plunder at various stages by state and non-state actors. The special series is supported by the Investigative Journalism Fund.
Documents seen by this newspaper this week show that before the diamonds were exported, Anjin demanded the companies which wanted to buy the gems to pay an upfront deposit of US$20 million.
Investigations have further revealed that only two companies managed to pay the requisite deposit of US$20 million.
In an invitation letter to the chief executive officer of Azura Consulting, Eli Avidar, Anjin’s deputy sales and marketing manager, Neville Mutsvangwa, said the company was required to deposit US$20 million before buying the diamonds.
“Please be advised that Anjin is currently selling a large parcel (in excess of 2,5 million carats) with assortments of varying grades,” reads the letter. Your company is invited to view the parcel on the condition that you deposit USD$20 million on or before 7 December 2012 into a designated bank account.
“The deposit will go towards your payment in the event that Anjin and your company agree on a sale price. However, in the event that we cannot settle on an agreed price, Anjin will immediately refund your USD$20 million in full.”
In an interview this week, Mutsvangwa said Anjin followed due process in the export of the diamonds.
“All the necessary documents were prepared, including the Kimberley certification and the minister approved the transaction,” Mutsvangwa said.
Last year, sources told the 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, to help bust the measures, resulting in the smuggling of the 3,37 million carats of diamonds to China. Anjin said last year the diamonds exported to China amounted to 3,37 carats worth US$112 million, reacting to the Independent’s exposé.
In an interview with this paper last year, Sekeremayi said 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 told the Independent at the time.
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.
Anjin is a joint venture between the Anhui Foreign Economic Construction (Group) Co Ltd (Afec), a large construction company which sources say is connected to the military-industrial complex in China, and Matt Bronze Enterprises, which was formed by the Defence ministry and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces through Glass Finish Investments (Pvt) Ltd.
The agreement to form a joint venture was signed by Brigadier-General Charles Tarumbwa for Matt Bronze (Pvt) Ltd and Peng Zheng on behalf of Anhui.
Fresh investigations by the Independent revealed that government through the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) held 50% shareholding with Afec owning the other 50%.
“The 50% share which government held was composed of the military which had a 30% stake, police (10%), while the ZMDC had 10%,” sources said. Anjin, whose operations and financial affairs were opaque, is a 50-50 joint venture between Chinese firm Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group and the local military.
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. The KP failed to figure out the true identity of Matt Bronze.