By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
10 March 2014
The chairman of the Mbada Mining firm, Robert Mhlanga, has slammed the auction of Zimbabwe’s diamonds in Europe and said the sales should be stopped.
Mhlanga, a close ally and former personal pilot of the Mugabe family, told the parliamentary committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment that Zimbabwe should set up its own diamond exchange to stop revenue losses in commissions paid to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.
He made no mention of the mystery revenue losses that have resulted in millions of dollars of diamond profits going missing in Zimbabwe for years.
“I have strong reservations about Antwerp because they are our yesteryear enemies. We have actually reeled under sanctions, thanks to Brussels and for us now because they have claimed to have lifted sanctions and we run to them. Personally, I have my own reservations,” Mhlanga said.
His comments meanwhile follow his appointment to the Dubai Diamond Exchange Board (DDE), the hub of the diamond trade network in the Middle East.
This new appointment follows two additional appointees in 2013 when the DDE added Francis Pedzana Gudyanga, Zimbabwe’s permanent secretary of Mines and Mining Development, and Levy Rapoo, the CEO of the South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator (SADPMR) to its board.
Peter Meeus, the chairman of DDE’s board, said of the appointments: “The prominence of high profile industry executives on the DDE’s board of directors reflects our truly global status in the diamond trade.”