40 sus­pended over di­a­monds theft

The Manica Post - - Front Page - Ray Bande Se­nior Re­porter

THE Zim­babwe Con­sol­i­dated Di­a­mond Com­pany (ZCDC) has sus­pended 40 em­ploy­ees in an in­tense crack­down meant to halt ram­pant di­a­mond theft at Chi­adzwa,

The Man­ica Post can re­veal. Em­ploy­ees from dif­fer­ent de­part­ments who were al­legedly work­ing in connivance were im­pli­cated in di­a­mond theft which was ex­posed fol­low­ing the rad­i­cal im­ple­men­ta­tion of tight di­a­mond se­cu­rity mech­a­nisms.

The tight se­cu­rity mea­sures were mooted at di­a­mond se­cu­rity stake­holder meet­ings in­volv­ing the coun­try’s uni­formed forces and the Pres­i­dent’s Of­fice.

ZCDC pub­lic re­la­tions ex­ec­u­tive Mr Sugar Chagonda con­firmed the sus­pen­sion of the 40 em­ploy­ees im­pli­cated in the di­a­mond leak­age scam.

Mr Chagonda said the sus­pended em­ploy­ees were work­ing in ca­hoots with il­le­gal min­ers op­er­at­ing in the Chi­adzwa area and some il­le­gal di­a­mond buy­ers, in si­phon­ing the pre­cious gems.

“Yes, it is true that we have sus­pended more than 40 em­ploy­ees in con­nec­tion with cases of theft of di­a­monds. This is a re­sult of the di­a­mond se­cu­rity stake­holder meet­ings we are hav­ing that in­volve uni­formed forces as well as the Pres­i­dent’s Of­fice.

“As part of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the rec­om­men­da­tions made at the di­a­mond se­cu­rity stake­holder meet­ings, we man­aged to un­earth the ram­pant theft of di­a­monds hence the sus­pen­sion of em­ploy­ees im­pli­cated in the scam.

“We dis­cov­ered that em­ploy­ees were work­ing in ca­hoots with ar­ti­sanal min­ers op­er­at­ing il­le­gally in Chi­adzwa as well as di­a­mond buy­ers in si­phon­ing the min­eral,” said Mr Chagonda.

He said ZCDC was tak­ing the is­sue of di­a­mond leak­age se­ri­ously.

“We are re­ally se­ri­ous about the clam­p­down on di­a­mond leak­age. We surely can­not tol­er­ate a sit­u­a­tion where the na­tion is prej­u­diced of rev­enue by some un­scrupu­lous el­e­ments in our midst,” he said.

Re­cently, 10 crim­i­nals al­legedly bull­dozed their way into the Chi­adzwa di­a­mond fields and looted two dump trucks of di­a­mond ore be­fore van­ish­ing into the dark­ness.

The crim­i­nals, sus­pected to be highly trained and co-or­di­nated, al­legedly rounded up and dis­armed un­sus­pect­ing ZCDC se­cu­rity guards on duty. They al­legedly as­saulted them be­fore force march­ing one of them to what is known as “the RBZ plant” where the di­a­mond ore was stored.

The clam­p­down on di­a­mond leak­age at ZCDC comes on the heels of Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa’s visit to the min­ing con­cern last month where he warned cor­rupt el­e­ments in the sec­tor that they have no room in the Sec­ond Repub­lic.

“Trans­parency, ac­count­abil­ity, hon­esty and in­tegrity are in­dis­pens­able val­ues for stake­hold­ers in the di­a­mond sec­tor. I am fully aware of the im­mense sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to theft and cor­rup­tion by those in the in­dus­try. The Sec­ond Repub­lic will not bro­ker or con­done any acts of cor­rup­tion or mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of re­sources that should ben­e­fit all the peo­ple of our coun­try. We are wiser now and per­pe­tra­tors will be dealt with se­verely,” said Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa.

The clam­p­down on min­eral leak­age will go a long way in help­ing ZCDC at­tain its goal to pro­duce 4.1 mil­lion carats in 2019. ZCDC pro­duced 2.8 mil­lion carats in 2018. Not­with­stand­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges that af­fected the min­ing sec­tor in the last quar­ter of 2018, chief among them fuel short­ages, lim­ited for­eign cur­rency and ex­change rate in­duced in­fla­tion, ZCDC man­aged to sur­pass its set tar­get of 2.4 mil­lion carats with out­put of 2.8 mil­lion carats.

ZCDC chief ex­ec­u­tive Dr Mor­ris Mpofu re­cently told the me­dia that the com­pany’s tran­si­tion from al­lu­vial to con­glom­er­ate min­ing, on the back of in­vest­ments in new ma­chin­ery, has also seen pro­jec­tions for out­put this year be­ing re­viewed to 4.1 mil­lion carats.

“There is that need to re­view the growth prospects of the sec­tor to un­lock more value in the ex­plo­ration and ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion process so we an­tic­i­pate a rise in over­all out­put,” said Dr Mpofu.

He said the com­pany is now set to con­trib­ute to na­tional growth and re­cov­ery through for­eign cur­rency gen­er­a­tion, em­ploy­ment cre­ation and con­tri­bu­tion to the fis­cus.

“We hope that the suc­cess we have achieved now is what we want and the fu­ture is all about eco­nomic growth prospects for the na­tion,” added Dr Mpofu.

ZCDC re­sumed di­a­mond sales in 2018 and has so far in­voiced over US$49 mil­lion from di­a­mond ten­ders held in last quar­ter of 2018.

It is also ex­pected to con­tinue con­duct­ing pe­ri­odic di­a­mond ten­ders in 2019 to sell both its cur­rent pro­duc­tion and the ac­cu­mu­lated stocks.

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