Mpofu warns accomplices

Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu on Monday said those involved in the illegal smuggling of Zimbabwean diamonds that have been found and confiscated by Indian authorities, would face the wrath of the law.

India’s directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) recently arrested two people for allegedly smuggling a 48 663 carat (9,72kg) consignment of rough diamonds from Zimbabwe valued at about $2 million.

According to reports from India, the pair was arrested trying to sell the diamonds in Surat. The two who were said to have arrived in the country from Kenya, were arrested after they failed to produce the mandatory Kimberley Process (KP) certificate for the diamonds.

Although he said he was not aware of the arrest, Mpofu said: “All diamonds extracted from the country are supposed to be accompanied by a KP certificate. If they did not have the certificate then it means they are criminals and should face the full wrath of the law.”

Asked if the Zimbabwean government would make a follow up to bring the diamonds back to the country, Mpofu said, “That depends on the Indian government and their laws.”

“We have been working tirelessly to curb cases of illegal smuggling of minerals including diamonds in the country and those caught on the wrong side of the law will face the music.

“Those that will be found to be aiding the smugglers of those diamonds from the country will not escape the law,” he said.

The swoop was the second major haul of diamonds smuggled from Zimbabwe intercepted in Surat by DRI over the past three years.

Two foreigners were arrested by DRI in September 2008 in possession of diamonds worth $1 million.

Surat, the state capital of Gujarat and one of the world’s leading diamond trading centres, concluded a $1,2 billion rough diamond deal with a Zimbabwean consortium.

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