Mugabe conned diamond investor

FORMER President Robert Mugabe’s confidante and ex-pilot, Robert Mhlanga, has accused the deposed Zanu PF leader of conning Grandwell Holdings chairperson David Kassel of his multi-million-dollar investment in Chiadzwa.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Mhlanga, who used to chair Mbada Diamonds Company, made the disclosure yesterday when he and Kassel appeared before the Temba Mliswa-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee and narrated how their firms were elbowed out of Chiadzwa in 2016 mafia style by heavily-armed police officers.

Mhlanga’s statement also came as former Zimbabwe Mining Development Company (ZMDC) chairperson Goodwills Masimirembwa rubbished Mugabe’s claims that $15 billion worth of diamonds went missing from Chiadzwa.

Kassel told the committee that Mugabe initially allowed him to mine in Chiadzwa in 2009 and later unilaterally cancelled his contract in 2016.

Kassel and Mhlanga said diamonds worth millions of carats went missing when they were forced out.

“When we signed the contract we were told that Grandwell was to mine in perpetuity and that Marange Resources was to pay for everything and ensure that the licences were made available, but that did not come to pass. Mugabe gave us a guarantee that no one would touch our investment, but Kassel was conned by ZMDC and by the Head of State,” Mhlanga said.

Kassel said they invested $50 million in mining equipment and spent an additional $40 million on exploration.

“Then in February 2016, without our knowledge police arrived at the mine, abused people, acted like cowboys, opened our diamond vaults, broke fences and put our people in a room as if we were criminals. It was an unruly process. They broke our safes and took whatever diamonds there were and our containers,” he said.

Mbada Diamond’s chief security officer Jabulani Mukoko said the 200 armed police officers ordered security personnel to shut down the CCTV and vacate the area.

Mukoko said on February 24, 2016, he sealed the diamond vaults and recorded their serial numbers before leaving and on the 27th, some of the vaults had been tampered with and diamonds went missing. The vaults were later welded by the police, but they were empty.

He said consolidation was used as a Trojan horse for looting and to bring in individuals with ulterior motives.

Masimirembwa told the committee that the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s company Gye Nyame was in a joint venture with a Ghanaian company, Bill Minerals.

He, however, denied claims that $15 billion worth of diamond revenue went missing under his watch.

“I want to emphasise that there is no way we as Zimbabwe sold $15 billion. People went to Marange for alluvial diamonds and there was no scientific or geological survey, and when the alluvial diamonds were depleting, we got into panic mode and gave all sorts of figures.”

He also told the committee that before ZMDC took over, there was chaos in Chiadzwa and some Lebanese and Mozambicans were camped there looting.

9 Comments

  1. Zvakozvenyuhazvirehwimayivepi Mazivazvangumhakayakora

    Comment…Ingoda yemariyi yakashaika paya?

  2. Good job from this committee, but there are some more serious questions to be asked, strong actions to be taken after these disclosures and strong messages to go out to the public about the type of governance that this country has endured in these past years. A police company? Police going into mining? Police is a public service entity; how does the law of the country permit it to go into business ventures when there are parastatals to do that for government? Where does a state funded civil service arm of government like police get revenue to invest in business? What does it mean about governance of the country when private sector companies are denied business licences but civil service agencies like police get the licences? The committee must raise these questions and make a clear statement about the wrongs of Zimbabwe’s past governance and the wrongs that a genuine new government must openly and outrightly undo.

    1. Then what..after publishing the names? Ko Chombo how? I bet he is now a free man !!!!!!

  3. All arms of government had their fair share in diamonds. Army had Jinan, Police Gye Nyame, First family Mbada and so on and so forth. Mugabe had formed a mafia.

  4. There are missing pieces on this reportage; however i would say Kassel and Mhlanga should have done due dilegence before investing ‘millions’ just on Mugabe’s word…as it turned out they were duped.

    Reports os Police storming the mine and stealing diamonds is shocking and need to be explored further. Mr MLiswa dont leave any stone unturned.

    Otherwise this police action will remain unchallenged just like the destruction of schools and diptanks by the ‘so called warvets’ during the bushwar.

  5. What more evidence does one need that this whole ZANU PF creature should just be let go, otherwise we are headed for serious troubles ahead with this crew. We should vote wisely for sure.

  6. Marcus Aurelius: I am dying, Maximus. When a man sees his end, he wants to know there was some purpose to his life. How will the world speak my name in years to come? Will I be known as the philosopher? The warrior? The tyrant? Or will I be the emperor who gave Rome back her true self? There was once a dream that was Rome (From Gladiator). I wonder what Mugabe’s script says now?

  7. let watch and see the end of the story

  8. Corrupt regimes can never correct themselves.

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