Diamonds worth billions looted at Chiadzwa

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DE BEERS, the South African diamond mining giant, robbed Zimbabwe of billions of dollars after illegally carting away an estimated 100 000 tonnes of alluvial diamonds from Chiadzwa over a period of 15 years, The Patriot can exclusively reveal. Information at hand shows that De Beers and its international partners stole the diamonds after lying to the Government that they were doing exploration work. The companies installed heavy machinery and used dangerous chemicals to extract and clean the diamonds, in the process causing great damage to the environment and exposing locals to a potential health disaster. In some cases, De Beers discreetly established camps, disguised as tourists while looting Zimbabwe’s diamonds. One of the sites was a camp they set up in 2004 at Bazeley Bridge in Marange, where geologists assisted in the looting of the precious gems. Centre for Research and Development director and prominent critic of Chiadzwa diamonds, Farai Maguwu this week confirmed that De Beers looted diamonds, but claimed that Government should have stopped the looting. He said although he did not have the actual figures, studies being carried out by his organisation have so far revealed the massive looting that occurred at Chiadzwa. “The studies we are carrying out have so far shown that there was massive looting of diamonds in Chiadzwa by De Beers, but so far we do not have the actual figures, we only have estimates and the question we are struggling to get an answer to is, where was the Government when this was happening?” he said. Asked if he would present his findings to Government, Maguwu was evasive. He said he was not employed by Government, but an independent diamond activist. “I really cannot help them on that matter, I am not a Government employee, but an independent diamond activist,” he said. In a related development, Government is in the process of compiling information on how De Beers looted the country’s gems from the Chiadzwa mining fields and will soon institute a lawsuit against the company. In an exclusive interview with The Patriot on Wednesday this week, Mines and Mining Development Minister, Obert Mpofu said information gathered so far indicated that De Beers looted the country’s diamonds for more than 15 years under the pretext of undertaking exploration work. He said some De Beers employees confirmed that they took part in the looting of the Chiadzwa diamonds and have been assisting Government in providing information on how the gems were smuggled outside the country. “It is true that we are investigating the activities of De Beers and other companies that I cannot name at the moment and we have been gathering information on what they were doing at Chiadzwa, but it is now clear that they were not doing any exploration work as they previously claimed,” he said. “The information that we have gathered so far shows that there was massive looting by De Beers and its partners for more than 15 years and so far it has come to our attention that well over 100 000 tonnes of diamonds may have been smuggled out of the country by the company. “After we finish compiling the information, we will take the necessary legal measures and I can tell you that some De Beers employees have confirmed that their company stole diamonds in the country and we will definitely take De Beers and its partners to court, there is no doubt about that.” Mpofu said it was disappointing that De Beers was at the forefront of calling for the blacklisting of the Chiadzwa gems through the Kimberley Process, labelling them as blood diamonds. “What is disappointing is that after stealing diamonds from Zimbabwe and making billions of dollars, they are now using the money to push for individuals like their point-man Farai Maguwu and international groups like World Human Rights Forum to convince the Kimberley Process that our diamonds are blood diamonds,” he said. Zimbabwe’s point-man to the Kimberley Process, Mr Sylvester Nguni said Government should sue De Beers for looting the country’s diamonds and dismissed Maguwu’s accusations that nothing was done by the authorities to stop the looting. He said that does not justify the crime that was committed in Chiadzwa. “There is no doubt that action must be taken and Government must sue De Beers and its friends as a matter of urgency,” he said. “What Maguwu is saying is nonsense because action or inaction by the Government does not justify the looting of the diamonds. “On the contrary, the fact that the gems were being smuggled out the country shows that everything was being done off the radar so

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