Police in Zimbabwe have been ordered to investigate allegations that ZANU-PF officials solicited money from diamond mining companies in Chiadzwa under the pretense that the funds were for party activities, SW Radio Africa reported earlier this month. The money received was allegedly employed for personal gains.

Five members of ZANU-PF, Zimbabwe’s ruling party, have been accused of fraud and corruption for participating in a scheme whereby diamond mining companies were approached for money to help fund ZANU-PF activities.

Two companies apparently obliged. It is believed that approximately $750,000 was obtained from Mbada Diamonds and another unnamed mining company. Money was also reportedly sought from Anjin, but the company insisted that any financial contribution needed to go into a bank account.

The money that was received never made it to the party’s coffers.

One of the accused, Tawanda Mukodza, was ousted from his position as provincial chairman in December following a vote of no confidence, according to a Manica Post report. Misappropriating funds from diamond mining companies was one of the issues at hand. Focus on the accusations lodged against him is said to have brought heat onto the other four officials.

Originally, a provincial committee was given the task of investigating the five individuals in question. However, the whole bunch was subsequently exonerated of all wrongdoing, the Zimbabwe Mail reported.

A report about the investigation was supposed to be tabled at a politburo meeting last week, but that did not end up happening; described by the Zimbabwe Independent as “visibly angry,” President Robert Mugabe removed the matter from the politburo agenda, deeming it an inappropriate forum for what appears to be a criminal matter.

Mugabe said the the matter is a clear case of theft and corruption, commenting, “as a party we should not tolerate corruption,” politburo insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent.

Together, Mugabe, Vice President Joice Mujuru, Simon Khaya Mojo, a ZANU-PF national chairperson, and Didymus Mutasa, party secretary for administration, ordered that the police take over the investigation.

Zimbabwe diamond revenues an ongoing issue

Questions about Zimbabwe’s diamond revenues are nothing new. And it certainly is not a shocker that officials of ZANU-PF are implicated in the wrongdoing.

The Kimberley Process ban on diamond exports from Marange was lifted in November 2011. Given Zimbabwe’s deep economic crisis, diamond revenues were optimistically anticipated. But last summer, Finance Minister Tendai Biti shone the spotlight on the paltry benefits.

With over half the year gone, Biti said the government had seen only $46 million in diamond revenues when annual revenues were projected to be $600 million, GlobalPost reported. The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority pronounced the final tally for 2012 to be $136 million, according the Zimbabwe Independent.

What has taken some by surprise in the case of the current issue is that ZANU-PF leaders — particularly President Mugabe — are playing hardball with members of their own party. With elections slated for later this year, some suggest this group of five is being sacrificed for political gains.

 

Securities Disclosure: I, Michelle Smith, do not hold equity interests in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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