$15bn diamonds revenue was not stolen: Chinamasa

HARARE - Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said Zimbabwe did not lose $15 billion in diamond revenue as claimed by President Robert Mugabe.

Chinamasa, a long-time ally of Mugabe whose tenure at the country’s Treasury has been full of turmoil, told the BBC this week that it was not money missing or stolen but an economic loss due to undervaluing and mispricing.

“You are wrong to ascribe it — the looted $15 billion — to bad management. Over the years, there has been an economic loss arising from trade mispricing. You put it differently, you say looting but I would rather put it as mispricing,” he said.

The Zanu PF legislator’s statement is a testimony to the analysis by Daily News that the data presented to Mugabe was fudged by those who misrepresented the figures so that they influence the diamond mines takeover for their personal benefit to the detriment of the country.

As per Daily News research, Zimbabwe needs to have produced 49 million carats a year to generate $15 billion yet the top five diamond producing countries in the world are nowhere near that.

For instance, Botswana, one of world’s largest gem producers mined 23 million carats in 2013 according to data from the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme.

Zimbabwe, specifically Mines minister Walter Chidakwa controversially nationalised six diamond firms in Marange and formed the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company(ZCDC) and since then, the country has been facing acute shortages of cash while experiencing serious liquidity problems.

“We have not received much from the diamond industry at all. I don’t think we have exceeded $2 billion, yet we think more than $15 billion has been earned … Lots of smuggling and swindling has taken place and the companies that have been mining, I want to say, robbed us of our wealth,” Mugabe said in February justifying the state’s nationalisation of diamond firms.

However, latest figures show that ZCDC, which is under spotlight for operating illegally without an Act of Parliament, is under-performing and has proved to be a monumental disaster after producing a paltry 71 000 carats in June that generated less than $1 million in revenue.

Out of this $1 million, the government will get a sickly $200 000 for the 20,875 percent total remittances from the sale of diamonds, a situation that has seen Treasury failing to pay civil servants on time.

Economic experts said Chidakwa’s move to shut down diamond firms was diabolical as it not only worsened the country’s unemployment rate — hovering over 90 percent — but also caused suffering to the majority of former mine workers.

“This is what you get when you maliciously do things. We are killing the country through mindless policies, honestly how do you brazenly stop a working system?

“Was there no better way to improve diamond production than to form a non-performing company?” queried a senior Finance ministry official.

“We expected some of the proceeds from the June tender to assist us in paying the staggered civil servants’ salaries, but it looks like someone lied to the nation,” the official added.

This was after Chidakwa made predictions in March that ZCDC would be selling 500 000 carats every month earning the country an average of $30 million.

Centre for Natural Resource Governance director Farai Maguwu said ZCDC was built on lies meant to line pockets of a few individuals.

“My take is that government is taking the nation for a ride. The promise of $30 million was meant to justify the takeover of Marange by a new group of looters led by officials in the Mines ministry, who are saying it’s our turn...,” he said.

“The way ZCDC was set up clearly shows it was meant to continue with the opaqueness of its predecessors with no transparency in appointment of ZCDC staff and board,” Maguwu added.

Comments (9)

I don't want to be assosciated with this man in terms of being a Zimbabwean. We have biznes Gurus in UK and he expected them to believe his story that the $15b lost was a result of pricing. He is mad and not even fit to be a messenger in the accounts office. Even if we take it that that was a loss due to mispricing,, but on the whole you shud have made well over $100, to legitimise the 15b los on mispricing.

Sunshine Salisbury - 7 July 2016

All the takeovers that are happening are in the name of corruption and yet the truth is that these corrupt ministers have revved up the looting. Now people are not being paid. These guys were given a chance to lead in 2013 so as to correct the mess they created. Instead, they decided on increasing the plundering of the state resources. They have robbed every state department in the country. Let no sane person vote for Mugabe and his imbiciles.

Supa Mbavha nechiDhakwa - 7 July 2016

You are the world's most stupid finance minister even Chinotimba has better ideas than this joke. You are a disgrace and undervalue the intellect of Zimbos

Tshuks - 7 July 2016

The Dailynews did some fantastic work in disputing the president's figures. I also doubted them. Well done guys. However assuming that the figures were correct, this is what would happen. Cost of production would be give and take 40% or $6 billion. The Share of Profits from the remaining $9 billion would give ZMDC $4.5 billion, Government share of profits would be $2.25 billion if ZMDC chose to pay government. This is the model used and that is what explains the $2 billion. ZMDC money was used to fund the parallel government but simple logic would show that there wasn't as much money as claimed in other circles even if you consider Mr. Chinamsa's mispricing premise. Debeers did not take up that concession because it was too small to be mined commercially. That's why Chinamasa said there was more economic activities during the time artisanal miners were working the area. A word of advice is that government has no business aptitude and cannot create wealth. That responsibility resides in a country's corporate citizens.

Timothy Thorton - 7 July 2016

Well well. Do we need any more evidence of the lack of thinkers in Zanu PF? That's why they would rather address rural folk than handle urban enquiries from the public. A bunch of thieves whose time has run out whilst they're struggling for legitimacy.

Sagitarr - 8 July 2016

What's Chinamasa doing in our "worst detractors'" kingdom? Now he wants diaspora money to loot,after crafting a statutory instrument to bar the diasporans from voting.???????

The Curse of Africa - 8 July 2016

u fucker u just loot money and remember , zimbabwe was surviving on what was generated juring the unity govenment , now u have abusedall the money and u a draging us back to 2008 itai mushe

zim youths - 10 July 2016

David Kassel has robbed Zimbabwe He is a greedy Bastard that has no compassion for anyone His god is the $ and he and his family live in luxury while Zim suffers. I hope he pays the price for his insatiable greed May he end his days in Chickarube prision where he belongs

Sandok Austral - 18 August 2016

this man is only there to take zimbabweans for fools. he should know that to be a politician is not a passport to do his will. let him refrain from looting.

lawless - 13 October 2016

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