Gvt mum on $15bn looted from diamonds, promises transparency going forward

Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (Pvt) Ltd, a result of promulgation of the diamond mines policy by the government will ensure diamond mining is done transparently and accounts being published publicly, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Wednesday.

This follows claims by President Mugabe last week that $15 billion was looted from diamond mines.

Addressing a press conference with the visiting delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Chinamasa could not reveal what will happen to the looted billions but rather promised  transparency and accountability in the extraction of diamonds going forward.

The consolidated mining company which received a capital injection of US$3,5 million from  finance ministry has already started extracting diamonds .

“A Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company has been formed and has started working. My ministry has provided equipment and working capital to the tune of 3,5 million,” said Minister Chinamasa.

He said diamonds extracted by the company belong to the fiscus.

“The diamonds extracted by the consolidated company belong to the fiscus,” he  said  adding that they may be hosted somewhere but they belong to the fiscus.

Minister Chinamsa said government was disappointed by the looting of diamond revenue by diamond mining firms and has promised to  furnish members of the public with information on diamond  activities.

Minister Chimasa also admitted that there are things the country has done wrong and has vowed to correct the irregularities.

He added that agricultural production under Land Reform program is scandalously low and government is taking strides to enhance production on that land.

Speaking at the same event IMF mission, which is in the country for the third and final review  of the Staff monitored Program (SMP) said Zimbabwe’s economic difficulties have deepened.

“Economic difficulties have deepened. Zimbabwe cannot wait and needs to act now,” said Domenico Fanniza the mission chief of IMF.

However  Fanniza said Zimbabwe has met all quantitative targets and structural benchmarks.

Domenico Fanizza IMF mission chief

“The authorities have met all quantitative targets and structural benchmarks under the third and final review of the SMP. Moreover, they have started to develop a medium term economic transformation programme, in line with the broader reform agenda presented at the Lima meetings on arrears in October 2015,” the IMF said.

Going forward, Fanniza said the mission chief of IMF said  there is need to reverse the current trend and unleash Zimbabwe’s economic production.

He added that Zimbabwe needs fiscal discipline which will see cash primary accounts close to balance.