By Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa
27 March 2014
Several staff members at Mbada Diamonds have been linked to a three million dollar scam in which they are alleged to have facilitated illegal diamond sales for a Mutare dealer who ended up in court.
According to NewsDay newspaper, the scam was exposed when Indian dealer Mudassar Khan was arrested, after police received a tip-off that he was conniving with six Mbada Diamonds employees who facilitated his illegal diamond deals.
Khan had reportedly bought top of the range vehicles for the employees to show his appreciation, including a $6,000 Toyota Chaser for his buyer in Chiadzwa, Tapfumaneyi Karingamupembe. Khan later confiscated the vehicle when he fell out with Karingamupembe over a $3,000 deal.
It was revealed in court that Khan was using his company as a cover-up and that his license had in fact expired. Khan is facing 12 counts of unlawfully dealing in diamonds worth approximately $3 million. Khan was granted bail and is due back in court April 10th. His lawyer told the court he would not abscond, as he is co-director of a wholesale company, along with other family members who are all Zimbabweans.
Meanwhile, a row has erupted over the traditional chieftainship in the Marange diamond mining area, where the current traditional chief is accused of overstaying his term, abusing his power for financial gain and violating the Constitution by participating in partisan politics.
Political commentator Lameck Mahachi said all those who are looting and engaging in corruption and other “dirty things” are simply emulating ZANU PF because that is what the party does, from the top to the bottom.
“ZANU PF has entrenched its tentacles, using money, power, intimidation and all the other tricks in the book. They are giving perks to traditional leaders and Chief Marange will never follow traditional rules. He is there because ZANU PF wants him there for their own interests,” Mahachi explained.
According to the Daily News, Gilbert Marange was appointed acting chief after the death of Noah Ringisai Marange, a position that lasts for only two years until a successor takes over. But Chief Marange has held the position for six years now and other claimants to the throne are reportedly plotting to overthrow him.
The Marange community is said to be angry because the diamond mining companies built a mansion for the Chief, ignoring villagers who are “wallowing in poverty”, the Daily News said. Diamond companies are supposed to benefit the local communities, but this has not happened in most cases.
Marange’s rivals have also complained that he is abusing his authority by demanding livestock from subjects who hoped to get jobs at the diamond companies. The Chief was election manager for the ZANU PF provincial chairman Chris Mushowe in last year’s disputed elections and he is also accused of using his political influence to get rid of any village heads that resist his abusive authority.