Minister lies at KP

HARARE - Mines minister Walter Chidakwa has been caught in the eye of a storm after he lied that all the legal issues surrounding government’s takeover of the Chiadzwa diamond fields have been completed.

This comes at a time the newly-formed government mining company — Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) — is still embroiled in legal battles with Grandwell Holdings, which holds a 50 percent stake in Mbada Diamonds.

It is also on the back of the Daniel Shumba-led parliamentary Mines portfolio committee’s unearthing of massive corruption and recommendation of the expulsion of Mines ministry secretary Francis Gudyanga.

Norton MP Temba Mliswa has since demanded Chidakwa’s resignation for failing to run his ministry.

According to State media, Chidakwa told journalists on the sidelines of the Kimberly Process (KP) Intercessional meetings in Perth, Western Australia on Monday that all legal issues around the consolidation of the diamond mining sector had been completed.

“I am very happy to note that all the legal issues have now been resolved particularly with the Chinese in relation to the activities of Jinan and Anjin. Jinan have already dismantled and taken away their equipment.

“All in all, we are on the right path towards consolidation. No one is fighting with us anymore . . . what remains is the vigour to go on the ground and be able to unlock full value, particularly on the conglomerates,” Chidakwa said.

Barely a week ago, ZCDC, was before the High Court, after Grandwell Holdings accused it of grabbing its property and looting its diamond ore, amid claims that the government-owned company was failing to break even.

Grandwell Holdings accused the government-owned company of failing to comply with a court order barring it from looting the diamond ore. The High Court went on to give ZCDC an ultimatum to comply with the court order or face a bar from prosecuting its appeal.

In the application, Grandwell Holdings cited ZCDC, commissioner-general of police Augustine Chihuri and Mbada Diamonds as respondents.

“It is ordered that: pending the appeal filed by the first respondent (ZCDC) under case number SC 159/2017, the first and second respondents (Chihuri) and those acting on their behalf be and are hereby interdicted from collecting, from third respondent’s (Mbada) concession area, diamond ore mined by the third respondent, accessing areas secured by security personnel of the third respondent or otherwise interfering in any manner with such security arrangements in relation to the said concession area as per interim relief granted by this honourable court on the 24th of February 2017.

“Should the first and second respondents fail to comply with paragraph 1 above and to purge their failure to comply with the interim order granted by Justice Tsanga on the 24th of February 2017 under case number 1290/17, they shall be denied audience before this honourable court and any papers filed by them shall be struck out of the record,” the court ruled.

Mbada was among one of the companies that were forced to leave the diamond-rich fields in Chiadzwa by the government early last year to pave way for the establishment of ZCDC.

However, the firm was granted a court order allowing its security personnel to return to Chiadzwa and secure its equipment, diamond ore and unprocessed diamonds kept in a vault.

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