Govt orders diamond firms audit
Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter—-
Government has tasked the newly-appointed Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation board to audit its sole and joint venture diamond mining companies and institute criminal charges in cases where deliberate prejudice is established. It also emerged yesterday that one of the seven diamond mining companies in Chiadzwa, Gye Nyame, had its operating licence withdrawn for failure to perform.
The withdrawal of the licence is part of Government’s efforts to streamline operations in the diamond-rich fields, where only one or two companies would be left operating.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa yesterday said those who prejudiced the country would not go unpunished.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the ZMDC board that was appointed last month.
“We will pursue matters where deliberate actions of misconduct and abuse will have been committed,” Minister Chidhakwa said.
“One of the things that the board must do is to look at financial statements, get financial accounts audited, see whether there were no areas of abuse. I am happy the chairman has said to me that they will tell us as bluntly as it is so that we know who has abused in the past so we are able to take action.”
It is largely suspected that the country lost millions of dollars in the diamond sector through connivance between the companies and those seconded by the State to represent national interests in those companies.
As part of ensuring that the State reaped maximum benefits from Chiadzwa, Minister Chidakwa said Government had since withdrawn Gye Nyame’s operating licence.
He said one or two companies would be left to mine in Chiadzwa and anyone unhappy with that position was free to leave.
Minister Chidakwa said Government should have a controlling stake in diamond mining and negotiations were under way with foreign companies mining in Chiadzwa to that effect.
“We have withdrawn the Gye Nyame’s license purely because of non performance,” he said. “We believe that we are doing this in order to ensure maximum value to the people of Zimbabwe.
“We have not played a central role in the management of these companies. We will insist on a central role on the management of these companies. Those who will be happy to work with us in that respect will work with us and those who will not I think we might server relations.”
Minister Chidakwa said the process of streamlining operations in Chiadzwa was not an easy one, but they were ready to undertake it.
He urged the new ZMDC board to be wary of corruption temptations in the mining sector.
Minister Chidakwa said the new board should not expect financial support from Government because the State was also struggling financially.
“I want to say it from the beginning that your shareholder does not have financial resources,” he said. “All we have is the support that we can give you to ensure that you leverage – that you think of ways of raising resources whether it be raising resources through joint venture partners, through loans and credit so that you provide money to the various institutions.”
Minister Chidakwa said the ZMDC board should be proactive and ensure that several mines that shut down resume operations.
Such mines, Minister Chidakwa said, included Shabanie Mashava and Kamativi.
The new ZMDC board is chaired by Bindura Nickel Corporation managing director and former Mines secretary Mr David Murangari who is deputised by Fidelity board chairman and former RBZ deputy governor Mr Edward Mashiringwani.
The other board members are Mr Patridge Sibanda, Dr Farai Karonga, Mr Luke Akino, Mr Chris Chitambara, former Transport deputy minister Mr Zenzo Nsimbi, a director in the ministry Mr Titus Nyatsanga and Ms Esther Maravanyika.