MMCZ boss under probe over illicit diamond deals

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

A STORM is brewing at the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) over its alleged involvement with shady diamond dealers which saw the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) board fire its entire executive last month.

MMCZ, whose functions include marketing of all minerals – except gold and silver, and investigating marketing conditions inside and outside the country, is accused of allowing ZCDC to trade with blacklisted buyers.

General manager Tongai Muzenda is, according to insiders, under the spotlight for alleged abuse of office and corruption amid reports that he was too close to ousted ZCDC chief executive officer Morris Mpofu.

Mpofu stands accused of recommending MMCZ to sell diamonds to convicted criminal, Robal Hussein.

Sources said Muzenda could have been involved in the shady deals because he and Mpofu were reportedly seen together at night spots with potential buyers.

“Last time, they were seen with a Chinese buyer and another Lebanese buyer, the other issue, which even the accused persons raised is that MMCZ vets buyers, they are the ones accused of inviting alleged criminals to tenders and they added these same criminals onto their database,” the source said.

Muzenda, however, distanced himself from the ZCDC deals, saying Mines minister Winston Chitando was aware of the MMCZ position.

“I joined the MMCZ in February and these things had already started long before I came into office. I cannot be accused of failing to advise the minister or ZCDC because especially the minister he is well-advised, and he knows our position,” he said.

He said he had not, at any given time, met with dubious diamond buyers as alleged.

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