HomeBusiness DigestMillions in diamond proceeds siphoned

Millions in diamond proceeds siphoned

ANJIN Investments, a joint venture between the Anhui Foreign Economic Construction (Group) Co Ltd (Afec), and Matt Bronze Enterprises — a front for the Defence ministry and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces through Glass Finish Investments (Pvt) Ltd — formed a subsidiary company, Sogecoa Zimbabwe Limited, which was used as a conduit to siphon millions of dollars outside Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

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.

As reported by this paper, the military is the biggest local beneficiary of Anjin’s diamond mining revenues. Bank statements seen by this paper show that Anjin and Jinan, both Chinese companies, deposited millions of dollars into the subsidiary company’s account before the money was used and electronically transferred to banks outside Zimbabwe.

Sogecoa, investigations revealed, was a company whose activities were outside mining. The company concentrated on investing the mining proceeds in the construction of hotels and shopping malls.

“Money was transferred from Anjin to Sogecoa to invested in other business ventures other than mining,” the source said. “Sogecoa facilitated the construction of Peacock Mutare Hotel, Peacock Harare and Long Chen (Plaza) shopping mall.”

Sogecoa directors are all of Chinese origin and include Zhao Yao Jiang, Qing De Jiang, Hong Yan Deng, Zheng Peng and Shang Gang He, while its secretary is Qing Xia Lu. Bank statements show a series of transactions amounting to multi-millions went from Anjin to Sogecoa. For instance, on June 12 2014 (reference number ZW2FINT141630001), a transfer of US$3 141 616 was made to Sogecoa from Jinan’s BancABC Mount Pleasant account.

Last year, Afec was dragged to court on allegations of having externalised close to US$500 million. The company then paid about US$50 million to Sogecoa. A local bank acted as a conduit to wire the money out of Zimbabwe through Botswana banks. The bank account was opened on January 3 2013, with US$50 million, but the company transferred US$40 million to Sogecoa Zimbabwe days later before transferring another US$4 million to the same company on January 10 2013. On January 17 2013, Jinan transferred another US$2,9 million to Sogecoa Zimbabwe.

The money was externalised on the pretext that Afec was investing in equipment. Jinan deputy general manager, Tapiwa Goronga, told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, chaired by Zanu-PF MP for Gokwe-Nembudziya Justice Mayor Wadyajena, that the matter was under investigation by the police Serious Frauds Section.

Efforts to get comment from Anjin were unsuccessful.

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