US$585m case gathers momentum

THE matter in which BancABC officials and Jinan Diamond Mining Company are accused of conniving to illegally externalising US$585 million during the time when the Chinese firm was mining in Chiadzwa is gathering renewed momentum.

Obey Manayiti

A senior National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) official told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday that they received the docket after police investigations in July and processed with the matter in court.
This story 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.

“The docket is at court now. This is a summons matter and initially it involved the guy (Hashmon Matemera) from BancABC. Administratively the docket is at the court because all the investigations were completed,” said the official.

In recent weeks, the Independent has sought to establish what progress the authorities have made on the matter after the acting NPA boss and her deputy seemed unaware of the whereabouts of the docket.

“Assistant Commissioner Chinhengo said the case which they know involves Jinan Company and the docket was given to (chief prosecutor) Chris Mutangadura on 4th of July,” the national police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said yesterday.

The government hes claimed billions of dollars in proceeds from the sale of Chiadzwa diamonds were lost, prompting it to order all the seven mining companies to merge under the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), but some of the firms resisted. They were subsequently pushed out.

Circumstances into the matter are that Jinan allegedly siphoned funds to Botswana, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Dubai and China during the time it operated in Chiadzwa.

BancABC is said to have facilitated the transactions through which the diamond company externalised the funds. The bank is accused of having failed to inform the central bank about the movement of the cash outside the country at the time.

As a corrective measure, BancABC subsequently closed Jinan’s accounts in Zimbabwe and Zambia during investigations.

Officials at the NPA seemed unaware of the docket in question, raising questions over what was now goingon.

Acting Prosecutor-General Ray Goba said he was out of country and did not have details.
He referred the Independent to his deputy Florence Ziyambi, who also professed ignorance on the matter.

“Right now I am in Windhoek, Namibia, and I will be back in 10 days’ time. The deputy prosecutor-general is in charge of the office. I would suggest that you phone her and find out whether she can trace whether the information you have been given is true or not,” Goba said.

Contacted for comment, Ziyambi also said she had no details.

“I would need to check. I don’t know. I have to check whether we have it or not,” she said.

In May last year, former BancABC managing director Matemera appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court charged with externalising the funds on behalf of Jinan during his period at the helm of the bank.

Allegations against him were that he facilitated the externalisation of US$332 980 000 for Jinan to Botswana, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Dubai and China when he was still in charge of BancABC in 2013. However, investigations by the Independent showed that the amount concerned was actually US$585 million.

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