THE Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) board yesterday fired chief executive officer Morris Mpofu and six top executives with immediate effect.
Cloudine Matola/Tinashe Kairiza
This comes as Metallon Corporation, a leading gold mining company in the country, has taken steps to sue government for US$132 million for lack of payment for gold produced, saying “corruption” and “impunity” on the part of authorities were a major problem.
Mpofu, who was this week granted bail on allegations of approving diamond sales to a blacklisted dealer, was appointed to lead the state enterprise in 2017, after government terminated the licences of diamond mining companies in the resource rich Chiadzwa area. Chief Operating Officer Roberto De Pretto has been appointed as the acting chief executive officer.
In a statement, the ZCDC board of directors said the sweeping changes at the state run mining firm were necessitated by the need to refocus the business, in light of the prevailing operating environment.
“The board of directors wishes to make the following announcements; in line with the prevailing operating environment and the need to rebuild public and market confidence, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company board has resolved to make changes to management,” board chairperson Kilian Ukama said.
Other top executives who were fired include chief finance officer Charles Gambe, supply chain executive Newton Demba, chief human resources executive Masciline Chikoore, chief security officer Clemence Munoriyarwa, engineering executive Andrew Murwisi and audit executive Cleopatra Mutisi. The board said following the far reaching management changes, the mine would now focus on restoring confidence in its business operations.
“The board has simultaneously embarked on a confidence building exercise for ZCDC,” Ukama said.
“The ZCDC board would like to reassure its stakeholders and partners on its continued commitment to strengthen its systems and processes for business continuity and realisation of its vision to becoming a world class diamond producer.”
The drastic management changes come after unidentified gunmen in military gear breached the security system at the ZCDC mine in Chiadzwa in Januar. They got away with substantial quantities of diamond ore, as exclusively reported by the Zimbabwe Independent on February 1.
In April, an armed gang of robbers, suspected to comprise members of Zimbabwe security forces and some artisanal miners, raided the Chiadzwa diamond fields again and escaped with tonnes of precious ore after overpowering ZCDC security in yet another movie-style raid of the mining area.
Following the heists, reportedly orchestrated with the help of company insiders, mining watchdog groups have been piling pressure on the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to foster transparency in Zimbabwe’s murky diamond operations.