Monday, June 25, 2012

Zimbabwe: Govt Admits No Money Coming From Army Controlled Diamond Firm

Zimbabwe's government has admitted that it is not receiving any money from an army controlled diamond firm in Chiadzwa, which was meant to be a joint venture cash-cow for the state.
The Anjin mining company was formed in 2009 on a joint agreement between Zimbabwe and China, after the original claim owners in Chiadzwa were booted off the site. The agreement was theoretically meant to ensure that a sizeable portion of profits from the lucrative alluvial mine went to the Finance Ministry, through the state owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).
The ZMDC also entered into other joint ventures in Chiadzwa, and the possibility of billions of dollars saw Finance Minister Tendai Biti peg the national budget on potential remittances. Biti said in his 2012 budget that he had been promised US$600 million from diamond sales by the Mines Ministry, with most of the money already allocated to various infrastructure development projects.
But half-way through the financial year, the Prime Minister has said that only US$25 million of diamond money has been remitted to treasury. In Cabinet Morgan Tsvangirai told legislators on Thursday that funds received to date had been very disappointing and far short of budgetary estimates.

Biti has now also admitted that Anjin is not remitting anything to treasury despite making a serious profit. In an interview with The Independent newspaper this week, Biti said nothing was coming from the company, "not even a single cent."
Biti last month raised these same concerns in Parliament, while also expressing concern that the ZMDC was not a shareholder, as the government originally thought it was.
"We, in the Ministry of Finance, now fear that there may be a parallel government where these monies may be going and not coming to us," Biti told parliament last month.
These concerns have also since been justified, after the Country's Deputy Mines Minister confirmed that the Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) owns 40% of the Anjin mining firm. Although the ZDI is, on paper, a private company, all the shares in the company are held by the ZANU PF controlled Ministry of Defence.
Chimanikire insisted that the government still had a stake in that mine, saying that 10% of the Anjin shareholding was still held by the ZMDC. But Biti told The Independent that the ZMDC is not involved, suggesting the 10% shareholding is held by another suspect military group, called Matt Bronze.
Dewa Mavhinga from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the army's strong involvement in the mining sector was "unacceptable, wrong and not good for Zimbabwe's security." He said that the military's strong allegiance to ZANU PF was particularly worrying, amid growing concern of a return to violence when a fresh election is called.
"Zimbabwe's military appears to be entrenching itself firmly in political circles and with elections nearing, we are worried. If the diamond revenue is not going to the Treasury and it's not going to the public, then where is it going and who is benefiting? These are questions that need urgent answers," Mavhinga said.