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Biti lied: Mpofu


BULAWAYO — The Minister of Mines and Mining Industry, Obert Mpofu yesterday dismissed allegations that diamonds worth $30 million from the Marange fields have gone missing.
He said a forensic audit currently underway would prove that nothing was amiss.
Mpofu was speaking at the Mining, Engineering and Transport Exhibition Business Conference in Bulawayo.
Finance minister Tendai Biti said last week that $30 million, proceeds from the sale of the Chiadzwa diamonds, could not be accounted for.
Mpofu said this was not true and the audit would vindicate him.
“A forensic auditor has already begun the process of auditing all diamonds, from their production, sales, police recoveries and mop ups. All diamonds will be accounted for,” Mpofu said. “The current misinformation going around is a smoke screen which should be avoided.”
He said all the new mining companies had not exported a single diamond.
“Zimbabwe is committed to following the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) and the ministry is currently lobbying regional neighbours for issues such as technical support in small scale mining and training of diamond inspectors. Namibia has played an important role in providing us with practical assistance to meet the KP requirements,” Mpofu said.
He said there were ongoing engagements between Zimbabwe and Mozambique to develop corporate strategies to avoid smuggling.
Ghana and Brazil had also pledged to assist in formulating appropriate policies in small-scale mining.
Mpofu said the media should play a positive role in the diamonds issue.
“The depoliticisation of the Chiadzwa diamonds is important and the media play an important role in this regard. Positive media policies are vital in this issue.”
The World Diamond Council granted Zimbabwe the right to export its diamonds from Chiadzwa on July 17 2010, at its seventh annual general meeting in St Petersburg.
Mpofu said those who did not want stability at Chiadzwa were benefitting from the lawlessnesss that reigned at the diamond fields when the gems were discovered.
“When there was chaos at Chiadzwa, there were people who took advantage of the disorder and looted diamonds from there. Now that we want to put things in order, they are complaining. Unfortunately for them, we have plugged all the holes and we are doing things the proper way from now on,” he said. Mpofu said those who were against Zimbabwe selling its diamonds acknowledged the progress made in fulfilling KPCS reminimum quirements.

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