The Military Diamond Syndicate In Zimbabwe: Are The Real Criminals Around President Mnangagwa?

Zimbabwe soldiers on parade

When Major General Sibusiso Moyo went on national television to declare the takeover of government by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, he was explicit;

We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice

The messaging resonated with the tired and battered people of Zimbabwe but three weeks to the day, it is becoming clearer and clearer that the operation was executed by the criminals to consolidate their power and evade national and international scrutiny. In this report we are going to focus on the ring leaders and peel the intricate web of deceit and plunder that the current merchants of freedom created in Zimbabwe.

There is a web of military involvement within the whole diamond saga in Zimbabwe. To understand how things worked we have to look at the State apparatus and enterprises that were involved.

  1.  Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC)
  2. Minerals Markerting Corporation Of Zimbabwe
  3. Zimbabwe Defence Industries
  4. Central Intelligence Organization

We also have to look at the companies that had a claim in Chiadzwa.

  1. ZMDC
  2. Mbada
  3. Anjin
  4. Jinan
  5. Kusena Diamonds
  6. Mbada Diamonds,
  7. Marange Resources
  8. Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC)

The web of Marange Diamond companies ownership

The ZMDC was established by Act of Parliament No. 31 of 1982. Its role is prospect, explore and mine precious metals. ZMDC owns the entirety of Marange Resources.

Mbada Diamonds is a 50/50 joint venture between ZMDC’s subsidiary, Marange Resources and New Reclamation Group’s subsidiary Grandwell Holdings, while Canadile Miners is a 50/50 joint venture between Marange Resources and Core Mining and Minerals. Retired Major Lovemore Kurotwi who is close to Air Marshal Perence Shiri who was his commander when he was with the notorious 5th brigade during the Gukurahundi massacre was the Deputy Chair of Cannadile. Other members were Adrian Taylor, Yehuda Licht (Israeli diamond dealer), Danesh and Ashok Pandeya Taylor is alleged to have worked as a mercenary in Sierra Leone, while Licht is believed to have spent time in jail in Angola on diamond-related smuggling offences. Kurotwi was arraigned and later acquitted of symfoning $2 billion through illicit diamond trade. Settlement Chikwinya once identified Retired Brigadier Victor Rongai, Retired Colonel Charles Mugari, Retired Major General Charles Ruwodo as shareholders of Cannadile.

Grandwell Holdings was registered in Mauritius, its shareholder composition is sealed however various investigations revealed that David Kassel, former chairman of South Africa’s New Reclamation Group (Pty) was a shareholder. While it was not proved, it is believed that Shiri, Chiwenga and Grace Mugabe have a stake in the company. Robert Mhlanga a retired Air Force Pilot and Mugabe’s former helicopter pilot is believed to be a Shiri’s business partner. Robert Mhlanga was the chairman of Mbada representing government interest and his daughter Patience Khumalo was the CEO before her departure in 2014. Mhlanga bout a $14 million mansion in South Africa.

Minister Mpofu was also entangled in the Mbada debacle as shown by some of his dubious appointments to the Mbada board. Sithengisiso Mpofu who sat in the board is Minister Mpofu’s sister-in-law while Dingiswayo Ndlovu was his personal assistant.

The Zimbabwe Defence Industries is a company that was registered in 1985 by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) a parastatal. The Zimbabwe Defence Forces did not have legal mandate to register the company and thus ZDI was registered by IDC to circumvent this restriction. IDC only owns 5% in ZDI. The board of directors includes ZDF commander General Constantine Chiwenga, air force commander Air Marshal Perence Shiri, army commander Lieutenant-General Philip Sibanda and RT Madamombe. Zimbabwe Defence Industries owns 40% of Anjin.

Anjin’s Executive Board included Mr. Martin Rushwaya, the Permanent Secretary of Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Defence. Non-executive board members included Mr. Morris Masunungure, a retired officer in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), and Mr. Romeo Daniel Mutsvunguma, a retired colonel in the ZDF.

Global Witness also reported that the principal officer and company secretary of Anjin was Brigadier General Charles Tarumbwa, widely reported to be a senior military lawyer. It was the Brigadier General who signed the agreement, on behalf of ZDI linked Matt Bronze, to establish Anjin with the private Chinese investor AFECC. Zimbabwe’s company register also stated that Anjin’s share capital consisted of 2,000 ordinary shares shared equally between Brigadier General Tarumbwa and AFECC’s Peng Zheng.

To make this even more complex Col Tshinga Dube who was ZDI general manager was in 2012 appointed by Minister Mpofu as the Chairman of Marange Resources which is wholly owned by ZMDC.

There is a long trail of military appointees within the diamond industry in Zimbabwe for example the MMCZ Col. Nelly Basutu who was appointed in 2008 as its head is wife to Air Vice-Marshal Titus Abu Basutu, the deputy to the Air force Commander Perence Shiri. MMCZ authenticated and prepared the invoices that enabled Sandawana to sell diamonds to the Middle East outside of and in contravention of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) procedure. Sandawana was acquired by ZMDC.

In all our investigations on the missing $15 billion we did not come across the names of Chombo, Kasukuwere or Jonathan Moyo. Although these ministers especially Chombo and Kasukuwere flaunted ill-gotten wealth, they are not the major criminals in Zimbabwe. The real criminals are around President Mnangagwa today.

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