Diamond miner loses $500k in scam

HARARE - A group of Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) employees allegedly connived and manipulated Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) and exchanged fake gems for original ones without detection.

In the process, the ZCDC lost diamonds worth more than $500 000, the court was told yesterday.

One of the employees Anesu Dhliwayo, 34, who was employed in the diamond sorting division where the precious stones were graded, appeared in court yesterday charged with theft.

Dhliwayo appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzayi Mugwagwa and was remanded to today pending a determination on his admission to bail.

The investigating officer Damson Chatukuta opposed Dhliwayo’s admission to bail on the basis that he did not dispute his involvement in the case.

“Accused is facing serious allegations of theft from an employer who earns revenue for the government of Zimbabwe. The offence has a negative bearing on the economy of the country.

“Evidence against him is overwhelming such that he is likely to be convicted if the matter goes to trial. Accused person also led detectives to recovery of a Toyota Wish vehicle that he purchased on October 26 using proceeds of the crime,” Chatukuta said.

The court heard that immediately after committing the offence Dhliwayo used proceeds of the diamond sale to purchase a Toyota Wish motor vehicle that was later surrendered to the police after his arrest.

Prosecutor Sabastian Mutizirwa alleged that between January 1, and December 21, this year Dhliwayo was employed by the complainant as a sorter.

His duties included grading and handling of diamonds inside the sort house at ZCDC.

Dhliwayo allegedly connived with other employees Tobias Mukundu, Elphas Dhaka and Stalin Munyanyi to steal the precious mineral from their employer.

According to the State, Mukundu was an internal security guard responsible for protecting diamonds from theft by employees, Dhaka, a sorter and Munyanyi operated the CCTV monitoring movements to detect thefts that would occur within the company.

It was alleged that acting in common purpose with a suspected illegal diamond dealer Tapiwa Marange who is still at large, Dhliwayo and his gang would take turns to smuggle fake diamonds into the sort house.

The court was told that Mukundu and Munyanyi would make sure that their colleagues were not detected at security and CCTV levels facilitating smooth exchange of the diamonds for fake ones.

It was alleged that Dhliwayo would use fake diamonds that had the same weight as the original ones in a bid to cover up the offence.

Mukundu and Munyanyi, it was alleged, would ensure that Dhliwayo left the sort house where diamonds were graded without being detected by CCTV or internal security.

According to State papers they would sell the stolen diamonds to a known black market dealer in United States dollars before sharing the proceeds among themselves.

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