Home » Industry » How Zanu-PF Hid U.S $4 Billion Diamond Cash From Zimbabweans [opinion]

IN THIS extract from his latest column published in the Opinion section of this site which debunks President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF’ party’s claim that western sanctions are responsible for Zimbabwe’s economic ruin, NewZimbabwe.com columnist Chiichiri Muzita explains how the ruling party cheated Zimbabweans out of US$4 billion in diamond revenues …

NOW here’s and eye-opener I stumbled across some anomalies which led me to an interesting theory of how Zanu PF hid the illicit diamond export revenues in plain sight.

If you look at Zimbabwe’s exports since about the year 2000, everything seems to be more or less normal, as would be expected when it comes to our imports and exports.

However, come 2006, some figures jump out from the page which make no sense. See link: (a href=”http:wits.worldbank.orgCountryProfileCountryZWEYear2006Summary”http:wits.worldbank.orgCountryProfileCountryZWEYear2006Summarya).

As we all know, the Marange diamond fields came under government control in 2006. And surprisingly enough, at the end of 2006 we exported US$2.2 billion worth of “coal amp coke exports”.

At first glance nothing seems to be out of the ordinary, because obviously Zimbabwe does have coal and we do export it on a regular basis. But hold on a second, US$2.2 billion of coal exports in one year?! Let’s see if this figure holds up under closer scrutiny.

As we all know in 2006 Hwange Colliery was the main coal producer (before Makomo) and it has a production capacity of about 150,000 tonnes per month or 1.8 million tonnes per year.

If you also look at the history of coal prices, you’ll see that in 2006 the price of coal was at an average of US$50.60 per tonne.

So even if we assume a best case scenario in that Hwange Colliery had an exceptional year, where they were at full production, and all coal produced was all exported, this would translate to US$91 million in exports as a maximum figure.

However, the reality on the ground for Hwange Colliery was quite different back in 2006. Hwange could barely supply enough coal for ZISCO steel and only managed to export 217,000 tonnes (or about US$11 million) by the end of that year, see this article: (a href=”http:wits.worldbank.orgCountryProfileCountryZWEYear2006Summary” target=”_blank”http:www.washingtonpost.comwp-dyncontentarticle20060923AR2006092300600_pf.htmla)

So how in the world did our coal exports come out to US$2.2 billion at the end of 2006? Are you still with me or still confused dear reader? I’ll explain.

We all remember that during the whole Kimberley process talks, the rotund former mines minister Obert Mpofu boasted that Zimbabwe could earn US$2 billion a year in diamond sales, and that Zimbabwe would be financially self-sufficient with our economy rebounding on the back of diamond exports.

Where did he get the US$2 billion figure from? He didn’t just pluck it from the air as some mistakenly thought, because the receipt he had in his pocket for diamond exports clearly showed US$2.2 billion.

How did the World Bank not see that US$2.2 billion reported for coal and coke exports did not add up?

There is no way US$2.2 billion of diamond revenues could have been spirited away from Zimbabwe without the West’s knowledge and collusion in the whole affair.

This is why I don’t buy into the whole anti-West rhetoric spewed out by Zanu PF. However, WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?! Well, unobvunza ani?

But I’m not finished yet. Interestingly enough, the following year in 2007 we had no notable “coal amp coking” exports.

Instead, one of our top 5 exports, believe it or not, was “Unused postage stamps” to the tune of US$368 million in 2007.

In 2008 there were no notable anomalies in exports, of course that was the same year we had the hyper-inflation period, economic collapse, decimation of the local currency, and the violent elections which led to the GNU government.

So, what happened to the diamond proceeds in 2008?

Moving on, it should not have come as a surprise that the following year 2009 we once again exported “Unused postage stamps” with a value of US$435 million then again “Unused postage stamps” of US$559 million in 2010, and the same “Unused postage stamps” exports of US$392 million in 2011.

Someone out there must have quite a stamp collection worth US$2 billion. But, if you add up “coal” and “unused stamps” exports over the same years that the diamond fields were operating, it comes out to an eye-watering US$4 billion.

Then, surprise, surprise, in 2012 we were no longer exporting “Unused postage stamps”, instead one of our 5 largest exports was “industrial diamonds” at US$657 million.

Of course we were legally exporting these, albeit with the ZMDC still under the ZIDERA sanctions and EU restrictive measures. Remember that restrictive measures on the ZMDC were only lifted in February 2013.

If all of what I’ve highlighted above is not enough to make your blood boil with anger, then to add insult to injury, as soon as the sanctions were lifted on ZMDC, we heard the sad news that the diamonds were now depleted and that exports had suddenly dropped to US$187 million in 2013.

Oh sorry I forgot, sanctions are responsible for the sudden depletion of diamonds and subsequent fall of revenues. The truth of the matter is that the diamonds have not been depleted.

From the above I’ve highlighted the “semi-legal” inflows of diamond revenues the exact amount from illegal exports is open to speculation, but is probably at about US$2 billion a year over the past 8 years as was first estimated.

So you see the figure of US$16 billion in total is not a farfetched guestimate. And what does the country in general have to show for it?

Source : New Zimbabwe