ZMDC, MMCZ Can't Account For Diamonds Worth US$140 Million
Auditor-General Mildred Chiri, in her report for 2019 that was recently released, revealed that both the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) cannot account for diamonds worth an estimated US$140 million.
The diamonds weighed 350 000 carats.
According to previous auctions, Zimbabwean diamonds normally fetch about US$400 per carat, although this can rise to as much as US$12 000 per carat.
The matter has since been taken up by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development, which, at a hearing Monday, demanded answers.
The committee is chaired by Shurugwi South legislator (Zanu-PF) Edmond Mkaratigwa.
Environment and minerals watchdog, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), was also invited to present its analysis of the situation.
Chiri’s investigation also revealed serious diamond stock reconciliation loopholes which she said could provide the avenue for looting.
She also reported that some diamonds were sold in the Zimbabwean dollar to local customers, who later spirited the precious gemstones outside the country, pocketing foreign currency in the process. Chiri said in her report:
In 2019, 297 660, 41 carats of diamond stock held at MMCZ was not counted at the time of the stock count. These parcels were packed for customers and held at MMCZ. However, at year-end, during the stock count, these stocks were not included in closing inventories.
In 2018, 41 699 85 carats of diamond stocks held at MMCZ were excluded from the stock count. It was assumed at the time that these stocks had been sold to customers. An additional 13 222, 85 carats were excluded from the final stock sheet in error.
In response to Chiri’s findings, the ZCDC management indicated that the company would in future engage a diamond stock controller to prevent such leakages.
The auditor-general, however, raised the flag saying such loopholes are mostly a result of deliberate corrupt actions.
Chiri’s report further reveals that the MMCZ, in December 2019, could not account for five carats worth slightly over US$2 000. The diamonds conveniently went missing during a Close Circuit Television (CCTV) failure.
ZELA on Monday urged Mkaratigwa’s committee to visit ZCDC and also investigate the adequacy and functionality of MMCZ’s systems on the prevention of diamond leakages.
Diamond revenue has been a contentious issue with the late former president Robert Mugabe once claiming that revenue of up to US$15 billion had been stolen.
More: Pindula News; NewZimbabwe