BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) chief executive officer Morris Mpofu appeared before a Harare magistrate yesterday, facing criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly recommended the sale of diamonds to a blacklisted buyer.
Mpofu, who was represented by advocate Givemore Madzoka, appeared before magistrate Barbara Mateko, who remanded him to June 18 on $2 000 bail. As part of his bail conditions, he was ordered to surrender his passport, reside at his given address and report to the police and not to interfere with State witnesses.
Allegations are that in March, Mpofu recommended Robal Hussein to be allowed to buy diamonds from Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), knowing that he was an ex-convict and blacklisted under the Kimberly Process Certification (KPC) scheme.
Hussein and Youssef Osseily were arrested on September 20, 2008 in India for smuggling 3 605,73 carats of rough Zimbabwe diamonds valued about $900 000 in violation of KPC and the provision of the Free Trade in Diamonds Act of India.
It is alleged that the seized rough, semi-polished diamonds were confiscated by the government of India. Hussein and Osseily were convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment on September 22, 2010. They both served their jail terms and were later deported to their respective countries of origin upon release from prison.
It is the State’s case that on September 18 last year, a meeting was convened between ZDIAM Private Limited, represented by its director Hussein, and ZCDC representatives.
On March 26 this year, Hussein attended a diamond tender at MMCZ representing a Lebanese company Diamond Cut. It is alleged that Hussein bought three diamond parcels weighing a total 358,58 carats for $258 224,66.
The State says Mpofu had no right to recommend Hussein, who has a criminal record relating to smuggling of diamonds blacklisted under the KPC scheme and not licenced to buy minerals. Zivanai Macharaga appeared for the State.