Parly demands forensic audit on diamond mines

Herkimer Diamond KOA, Herkimer, NY

Auxilia Katongomara, Business Reporter
OUTGOING Parliamentarians have recommended that Government immediately carries out a forensic audit on all diamond companies that were operating in Marange after a number of irregularities were noted among them the smuggling and leakage of the precious stone.

A report by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy said Government only realised $300 million in the form of royalties while police recovered 2 800 carats, which were due for smuggling.

Committee chair Mr Temba Mliswa presented the report in Parliament and made recommendations that a forensic audit be immediately conducted on all mining companies that operated in Marange.

“The forensic audit should be conducted as a matter of urgency on all companies that were operating from Marange. The Permanent Secretary of Mines and the Auditor General should engage in earnest all the joint venture partners that were involved in the mining of diamonds in Marange,” read the recommendations.

The committee also recommended that the police’s Minerals and Border Control unit be given adequate resources that include vehicles to curb the smuggling and theft of diamonds.

“The Minerals and Border Control Unit (MBCU) informed the committee that for the period 2013 to 2016, they recovered approximately 2 800 carats and a few arrests had been made.

The MBCU expressed disappointment in the manner in which diamond cases were handled by the police because most of the accused were acquitted as a result of loopholes in the Precious Stones Act,” read part of the report.

Police attributed smuggling and leakages to a number of factors: porous border lines, shortage of vehicles for police to conduct effective surveillance and lack of scanners and drone technology to monitor the Chiadzwa area. The committee says that it was informed by the Minerals and Mining Corporation of Zimbabwe that for the period 2006 to 2017, the country produced just over 51 million carats of diamonds with a value of approximately $2,4 billion.

“Out of that figure, the Government received approximately $300 million in the form of royalties. This is in sharp contrast to the projections that were made by Honourable Obert Mpofu in 2011 that on annual basis the country would generate revenues worth $2 billion,” read the report.

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