HARARE, May 14 — Zimbabwe is to liberalise the country’s diamond trade, bringing an end to years of State monopoly of diamond marketing.

The government has gazetted provisions which will allow private players to cut and polish gems and sell them internationally.

Zimbabwe’s annual diamond output has surpassed the 13-million-carat level following the 2010 decision by the Kimberley Process — the process established by the united Nations in 2003 to prevent “conflict diamonds” from entering the mainstream rough diamond market — to lift a global trade ban on Zimbabwean diamonds.

Most of the diamonds are currently exported to Europe, Asia and the Middle East as rough stones, but there are concerns about illegal transactions.

“In terms of the illicit financial flows, there is now less smuggling of the diamond themselves, but the issue we now have is transfer pricing, where we have diamonds being sold out and probably being sold to parties, who buy at a lesser price and go to sell further and by so doing they might be conniving within the system maybe from the company or maybe government, and then sharing the proceeds,” says a researcher at Zimbabwe’s Centre for Natural Resource Governance, Norman Mukwakwami.