MBADA Diamonds has been sucked into a million-dollar diamond scam after it emerged that a Mutare diamond dealer Mudassar Khan had bought a range of vehicles for its employees as a token of appreciation for facilitating illegal diamond sales, it has been learnt.
It is alleged that Khan was arrested after a fallout with one of his illegal diamond buyers, who he accused of prejudicing him of $3 000 in one of the diamond transactions thus confiscated the buyer’s Toyota Chaser vehicle worth $6 000.
Khan, who holds an Indian passport and a Zimbabwean residence permit, is reported to have bought different types of vehicles — including Mercedes Benz, Toyota Hilux, Nissan March, Honda Fit and a Toyota Hiace minibus — for six Mbada Diamonds employees as payments during the time he dealt with them.
The disclosures were made when Khan appeared before Mutare magistrate Sekesai Chiundura facing 12 counts of unlawfully dealing in diamonds worth approximately $3 million in the alleged scam involving Mbada Diamonds staff.
The diamond dealer was not asked to plead to the charges of unlawfully dealing in or possession of prohibited precious stones as defined in Section 3(1)(a) of the Precious Stones and Trade Act, Chapter 21.06.
Khan was also not asked to plead on theft allegations that he stole the Toyota Chaser belonging to Tapfumaneyi Karingamupembe.
According to the State papers, Khan was arrested following a tip-off that he was illegally dealing in diamonds where he allegedly connived with six Mbada Diamonds employees.
The information allegedly indicated that Khan was using his company licence as a cover-up, although it was disclosed in court that the licence had expired.
The State alleges that Khan recruited some agents — namely Charles Chave, Albie Marima and Charles Gonzo — as his runners who were tasked to transport Mbada Diamonds employees from the Chiadzwa diamond fields to Mutare to deliver the diamonds at his offices.
The court also heard that Khan recruited Karingamupembe as his buyer in Chiadzwa.
But, in one of the diamond deals, the State alleges that Khan later accused Karingamupembe of prejudicing him of $3 000 and thus he confiscated his Toyota Chaser worth $6 000.
Khan, who is also a director of Akin Investments (Private) Limited, a company which is in the business of diamond cutting and polishing, was granted $3 000 bail.
Khan was represented by Harare lawyer Tafadzwa Charles Hungwe.
In applying for bail, Hungwe said the State was trying to sensationalise the matter by denying his client bail.
Hungwe said it was not true that the accused was earning his living through illegal dealings and that once granted bail he would likely abscond and escape to India.
Hungwe told the court that Khan was also a co-director of a wholesale together with other family members who were all Zimbabweans.
Head of police investigations Chief Superintendent Alison Nyamupaguma conceded that Khan was not likely to abscond as he had co-operated with the police during investigations.
Khan was ordered to report daily at Mutare Central Police CID section, surrender his Indian passport and continue residing at the address he furnished police.
He is expected back in court on 10 April.