THE Zimbabwe Defence Industry (ZDI) owns 40 percent of diamond mining company, Anjin Investments, a deputy minister has disclosed.
Anjin, a joint venture between Zimbabwe and China, is one of the companies operating in the country’s Marange diamond fields.
Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire told Parliament Thursday that the Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) has a 40 percent interest in the company while the state-run mining firm, ZMDC, owns 10 percent. The balance is owned by Chinese Defence Industries.
“Anjin is owned by the Chinese and the Government of Zimbabwe where ZMDC owns 10% and Zimbabwe Defence Industries owns 40% shareholding. Hon. Members of Parliament should be alert and be abreast with matters of national interest. It is imperative that Honourable Members of Parliament understand how Defence Industries are run,” Chimanikire said.
ZDI is reputed to be one of the Africa’s top defence contractors outside South Africa and, although nominally a private concern, all the shares in company are held by the Ministry of Defence.
Chimanikire said there was nothing sinister about ZDI’s involvement in diamond mining.
“Defence Industries are a common practice world over and there is nothing perculiar about it in Zimbabwe because Anjin itself is a defence industry company that is owned by the Chinese, which is in a joint venture with Zimbabwe Defence Industries,” he said.
Chimanikire said Anjin was one of five companies presently operating at Marange. The others are Marange Resources (100% government-owned), Mbada Diamonds (joint venture between the government and a private investor), Diamond Mining Corporation (joint venture between the government and a private investor) and Sino Zimbabwe (100% government).
He denied allegations that the country’s feared spy agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation, was also involved in diamond mining.
“From a ministry point of view, Central Intelligence Organisation and Partners, Zimbabwe Republic Police and Partners and Zimbabwe Prisons and Partners do not have any companies operating in Chiadzwa Diamond Fields.
“I would advise Members that if they have any information contrary to what the ministry is providing to approach the Anti-Corruption Commission because it can only be a corrupt practice that the ministry is not aware of.”
The involvement of security services in diamond mining at Marange was one of the reasons human rights groups managed to get diamond industry watchdog, the Kimberly Process (KP), to ban exports of gems from the area following allegations of abuses.
But the export ban has since been lifted.
Still, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has repeatedly claimed that revenues from diamond mining were being diverted from Treasury, citing Anjin Investments among the culprits.
“We are also deeply concerned that the ZMDC, which is supposed to be government’s representative in Anjin, is actually not a shareholder in Anjin, but some other body which we do not know,” Biti said last month.
“We, in the Ministry of Finance, now fear that there may be a parallel government where these monies may be going and not coming to us.”