By Alex Bell
12 December 2012
A diamond centre that has been under construction in Mt Hampden outside Harare for more than two years, is now expected to be open ‘soon’, promising about 40, 000 new jobs.
The chairman of the Zimbabwe Diamond Technology Centre, Lovemore Kurotwi, is quoted as saying recently that the centre is expected to be fully operational by mid-2013. Kurotwi used to be part of the now disbanded Canadile mining venture that was operating at the Chiadzwa diamond fields. He is still being investigated for allegedly ‘misrepresenting’ Canadile’s mining plans.
Kurotwi, a retired army colonel, is reportedly a nephew of the late General Vitalis Zvinavashe, a member of the ZANU PF politburo who was named in a United Nations report as one of the main figures to profit from the plunder of the Congo’s diamond riches.
SW Radio Africa also understands that Canadile was one of two companies working closely with Thankful Musukutwa, who was a permanent secretary in the Mines Ministry in 2010. The Ministry went on to set up offices at the Mt Hampden diamond hub, which is in easy reach of a private jet facility airport, Charles Prince, where diamond buyers can fly in and out of the country with little fuss.
The project manager for the diamond centre is reportedly Retired Colonel Charles Mugari and accountants at the centre have been seconded from the Reserve Bank, on orders from Governor Gideon Gono.
Once fully completed the US$20 million centre will have, among other things, banks, a diamond processing college and even insurance firms. On the surface the Centre has the chance to create massive employment opportunities and lead the way in indigenisation and economic empowerment. But critics are warning that the involvement of the affirmative action group, the military and other top ZANU PF officials, will merely see more corruption take root in the diamond sector.