Zimbabwe said it is stockpiling diamonds mined in Marange as their evaluation system had been “compromised” and it will enlist the help of Botswana to evaluate the stones.
Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa could not explain what he meant by “compromised” when he addressed parliament.
Newsday quoted the minister as saying that the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) had stockpiled 1,3 million carats over the last few months.
“We are already higher than last year, when most of the court cases were there. We just have not been selling,” Chidhakwa said.
“We have been mining and cleaning. The reason we have not been selling is because our systems for evaluation had been compromised.
“We have had to ask the Tswanas to come and they are coming in next week to assist us with the valuation of those diamonds and after that, we will now have a new system.”
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean government said that teams of auditors tasked to trace the whereabouts of $13 billion diamond proceeds are finding it difficult to get relevant information to facilitate the investigations.
President Robert Mugabe said last year that the treasury only received $2 billion since 2006 from the $15 billion realised from diamond mining in Marange.
Harare then engaged private audit firms to conduct the investigations after Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s Office recused itself, citing lack of resources.
“There have been three teams (of auditors) from three companies that we appointed and, as a result, they have been working and the last report that we got was that they were having difficulties with accessing information,” Chidakwa said.
“The contracted companies would not have unfettered access to information that was required because the companies, which they wanted to do forensic audits on were in fact before the courts.”