Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Government has identified a conman who attempted to steal Zimbabwe’s diamonds at the ongoing Dubai Tender Facility last week.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidakwa yesterday said he could not divulge the names of the culprits as that could jeopardise investigations. “We are still investigating the matter, so it will be too early for me give names of the people involved,” he said.
The attempted theft occurred on Tuesday last week at the Zimbabwe Diamond Tender held at Dubai Diamond Exchange Tender Facility.
In a statement, Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga said the sophisticated security system installed by the tender facilitator First Element helped to identify the culprit.
He said the criminal had since been apprehended and handed over to the authorities in Dubai.
Prof Gudyanga said the individual involved was well known to the diamond buying and selling community of Harare.
“The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has now received a formal report on attempted diamond theft from the ongoing Dubai Tender Facility,” he said. “Investigations have revealed that the apprehended individual, his family and business associates are well known to the diamond buying and selling community of Harare.
“With the successful resolution of this incident, it is sincerely believed that significant inroads into damaging black market syndicate and its operations inside Zimbabwe and further afield have been made.”
It is not the first time that Zimbabwe encountered challenges in selling its diamonds in Dubai.
In May, Dubai Diamond Exchange which was commissioned to organise diamond sales on behalf of Zimbabwe, illegally held on to US$30 million realised from the sale of the diamonds for almost a month. The situation severely affected Government and exporting mining firms which had earmarked the proceeds for key projects and operations.
This was after Government exported almost 400 000 carats to the Dubai Diamond Exchange under a market-testing exercise and the diamonds were then sold at an average price of US$76 per carat, marking a 5,4 percent improvement from the second Antwerp sale which attracted US$72 per carat.