By Daniel Chigundu
PARLIAMENTARY Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy has invited some of the companies that were mining diamonds at Chiadzwa when the country reportedly lost about US$15 billion.
According to former President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe lost US$15 billion worth of revenue through illicit trade and corrupt handling of diamonds.
There has however been a debate with some people including Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa disputing the figure as being impossible, while on the other side Farai Maguwu and Lovemore Kurotwi are of the view that US$15 billion is actually an understatement.
“In my view US$15 billion is a small number considering the nature of diamond fields, I remember when we were surveying the area we actually picked three diamonds and we were merely walking.
“Diamond mining didn’t start in 2009, there are activities that were taking place and also not forgetting the issue of mines that came on the pretext of exploring but they were mining.
“No one knows the quantum of what they took because there was no monitoring, so we could have lost more than US$15 billion,” he said.
According to ZMDC, since 2009 treasury received only US$189 million from diamonds activities despite having 50 percent shareholding in almost every company that was mining at Chiadzwa.
In an effort to get to the bottom of the issue, the Mines Committee is currently hearing oral evidence from stakeholders that were involved in the mining of diamonds from 2009.
To date, Lovemore Kurotwi (Carnadile Mine), ZMDC and ZCDC have appeared before the committee giving evidence although minister Mpofu refused to cooperate.
Minister Mpofu said he would not answer questions in the committee as long as Norton legislator Temba Mliswa has not recused himself as chairperson.
The companies expected today include DTZ, ANJIN and Mbada Diamonds as well as MMCZ.