Thursday, November 04, 2010

(TALKZIMBABWE) Six diamond mining officials arrested

Six diamond mining officials arrested
Posted: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 11:57 pm

SIX top Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and Canadile Miners officials have been arrested
on allegations of fraudulently getting Government permission to mine diamonds in Chiadzwa, Marange District.

It is alleged the six connived to dupe the Government into believing they had the resources to meaningfully exploit the Chiadzwa resource, and in the process formed a joint venture called Canadile Miners.

Those arrested include ZMDC chief executive Dominic Mubaiwa and company secretary Tichaona Muhonde, who were both last month suspended from work. Others are former ZMDC chairperson Gloria Mawarire, and board members Ashton Ndlovu and Mark Tsomondo. Canadile Miners local representative Lovemore Kurotwi was also arrested.

Detectives from the CID Border Control and Minerals Unit are investigating the matter.

Sources said Kurotwi and Mubaiwa allegedly duped Government that a South African company, BSGR, was keen to invest US$2 billion in Zimbabwe.

In August last year, Mawarire, Ndlovu, Tsomondo, Mubaiwa and Muhonde went to South Africa to review BSGR’s operations to make a determination on its mining investment capacity.

"They knew that the company did not exist, but travelled to make it look like everything was above board.

"When they came back they gave the Mines Ministry a report in which they claimed BSGR was fully operational and a suitable investor in the sector," a source alleged.

Another insider said Government gave ZMDC the green light to form a joint venture with the non-existent firm to mine diamonds in Chiadzwa.

However, the source said, they went ahead and formed the joint venture with Core and Mineral Resources (Pvt) Ltd and Marange Resources to form Canadile Miners.

Kurotwi is reportedly the majority shareholder in Core and Mineral Resources.

"Canadile had no cash and borrowed US$1,5 million from Agribank to start mining operations.

"Government investigations unravelled the alleged scam leading to the arrest of the six suspects," the source said.

Canadile’s operations have been suspended and ZMDC is managing the affairs on its own.

Two other companies, one of which is another joint venture with ZMDC (Mbada Holdings), are also mining in Chiadzwa.

Mubaiwa and four senior ZMDC officials were last month suspended on 16 counts of swindling the parastatal of US$10 million.

Last Thursday, Mubaiwa’s disciplinary hearing was postponed to November 15.

The other four will be tried separately on dates to be announced.

When Mubaiwa was suspended, the ZMDC board appointed finance manager, Ms Christine Mutongi, as acting chief executive.

She too was also suspended after being implicated in the matter.

Mr Tapiwa Goronga is now the acting chief executive.

Mubaiwa’s four co-accused are Mutongi, Muho-nde, chief finance officer Robert Karemba and chief operations officer Albert Chitambo.

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