Zimbabwe’s three security service agencies, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), Zimbabwe Prison Services and the Zimbabwe Republic Police, have been named among six operators allegedly extracting diamonds from Marange.
This was revealed yesterday in Parliament by Bulawayo South MP Eddie Cross, who told the House of Assembly the country’s Marange gems were worth about $70 billion.
Cross said this while debating on a motion on the state of affairs at the Marange diamonds fields, warning there was need for the government to take immediate steps to manage and control the exploitation and marketing of the minerals.
He said he had done a research on the issue and had come up with authentic figures on Marange proceeds.
“Six companies are on site in Marange and these are Mbada Diamonds, ZMDC (Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation) in partnership with Canadile Miners, Anjin and three claims for the CIO, Zimbabwe Prison Services and the Zimbabwe
Republic Police and these have been operating in Marange since 2009,” said Cross.
“I even have evidence that Mbada had been processing more than one million tonnes per annum and we have obtained figures on the diamond quality, values and, in fact, the Minister (of Mines Obert Mpofu) misled this House when he said diamonds were $13 per carat, when in actual fact they were $65 per carat and Marange has produced large quantities of gems worth $2 500 per carat, which means the output of Mbada Diamonds alone is $1,4 million per tonne, and that is worth 15% of Zimbabwe’s (National) Budget,” he said.
Cross said the way in which diamonds were being exploited in Zimbabwe was unacceptable to the Kimberley Process to the extent that out of a possible accrual of $400 million worth of revenue, only $174 million was received.
“In 2010 we could have earned $1 billion, raising the total revenue from Marange to $5 billion and these figures are amazing. On Sunday, the technical director of ACR from Australia said the quantities of diamonds from Marange can be two billion carats. We are talking of resources that are worth $60 billion to $70 billion,” he said.
Meanwhile, Parliament will today introduce the inaugural Prime Minister’s Question Time where Premier Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to answer questions on government policy issues.