Zimbabwe: 7 companies to be probed over looted diamonds

Zimbabwe’s government has launched a forensic audit of at least seven firms that operated in the Chiadzwa diamond field amid reports the country lost $15 billion of revenue.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Deputy President Emmerson Mnangagwa said that government was investigating the suspected looting in the Marange/Chiadzwa diamond fields.

"A forensic audit has been instituted against all seven companies. They will be audited to discover whether this has happened or not, and those who will be found through the forensic audit will account for the resources they have stolen from this country, that becomes a fact…," Mnangagwa was quoted saying.

Mnangagwa said this during the Zimbabwe Trade Fair Business Conference plenary session in Bulawayo.

In February, President Robert Mugabe, 92, revealed that diamonds worth more than $15 billion were looted in the eastern mining area of Marange.

Mugabe said at the time that the state treasury received less than $2 billion, according to reports.

Mugabe's revelation prompted the country's opposition parties to call for a thorough investigation into the disappearance of the diamonds.

The Movement for Democratic Change spokesperson Obert Gutu said the disappearance of the diamonds was "very astounding and startling".

According to the Voice of America, former minister of finance Tendai Biti, who is now the leader of the opposition People's Democratic Party, claimed that Mugabe knew about the "loot" as he had always furnished him with all details that "diamond revenue was being looted".

Biti was finance minister during Zimbabwe's Government of National Unity (GNU).

Biti said instead of opening a probe into the alleged looting president Mugabe set on that information, asking why he [Biti] was curious about diamonds instead of platinum.

"These are words and sound bites of a hypocrite and a dishonest person. When I was in government I gave him the figures. I gave him the statistics. I gave him the secret reports produced in Brussels. I gave him the secret report produced by Kimberley Process…," Biti was quoted as saying at the time.
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