Zimbabwe: The state, the security forces, and a decade of disappearing diamonds

12 Septembre, 2017, 15:56 | Author: Claudine Rigal
  • Marange Diamond Fields

Global Witness has uncovered new evidence linking Zimbabwe's state and partisan security forces to a decade of disappearing diamond wealth.

"From the outset of the Marange discovery, Zimbabwe's diamond mining sector has been shrouded in secrecy with poor governance underpinned by a lack of transparency and accountability", the report, titled "An Inside Job", reads.

"Companies have concealed their finances and shielded their operations from public scrutiny, hiding significant stakes in these companies held by the feared Central Intelligence Agency, the Zimbabwean military, and the government itself", Global Witness said in a statement. Global Witness is concerned diamond money is secretly financing institutions responsible for oppressing the Zimbabwean people. In May, Freedom of Information requests revealed United Kingdom officials turned a blind eye to the massacre of thousands of dissidents in Zimbabwe in the 1980s to protect the UK's economic and political interests in the country.

"Zimbabwe is important to us primarily because of major British and western economic and strategic interests in southern Africa, and Zimbabwe's pivotal position there".

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The Central Intelligence Organisation is alleged to have held a concealed stake in a company active in the Marange diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe, according to secret documents Global Witness said it had seen.

This casts serious doubt on President Mugabe's claim that private investors are exclusively to blame for billions of dollars of missing diamond revenues.

The revelations come as Zimbabwe gears up for elections in 2018, and ruling party Zanu-PF is embroiled in a protracted struggle to find a successor for 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe. Institutions and agencies named in the report have played significant roles in subverting Zimbabwe's democracy and perpetrating serious human rights abuses at key points the in country's tumultuous political history. Undisclosed stakes in the country's diamond industry have provided an off-the-books source of funding for their iniquitous activities.

In 2013, a parliamentary committee reported "serious discrepancies between what government receives from the sector and what the diamond mining companies claim to have remitted to the Treasury".

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