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Zimbabwe High Court Judge Criticizes Magistrate in Alleged Diamond Fraud Case


Analysts said Mining Minister Obert Mpofu and his aides should have been able to see from the very outset in 2007 that all was not right with the proposal by Core Mining and Minerals Resources to form Canadile Miners

Zimbabwe High Court Judge President George Chiweshe on Wednesday criticized police and Harare provincial Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe for failing to heed a High Court order issued on Saturday telling police to arraign mining company executive Lovemore Kurotwi or release him.

Chiweshe was ruling on an urgent application by Kurotwi who with five others is accused of fraud in connection with mining concessions in the Marange diamond field granted to Canadile Miners of South Africa. From Harare, Thomas Chiripasi reported the state agreed to bail conditions for five of the six accused diamond executives.

Meanwhile, some observers have been asking why the government has filed charges against the mining executives when the joint venture they allegedly schemed to form has been in operation for many months.

Analysts said Mining Minister Obert Mpofu and his aides should have been able to see from the very outset in 2007 that all was not right with the proposal by Core Mining and Minerals Resources, particularly if they had issued a tender and conducted due diligence – fully checking candidates.

Official sources told VOA that Mubaiwa, then chief executive of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corp., duped Mines Ministry with projections that never came to be, having dumped supposed South African financing partner BSGR after his proposal to form a joint venture vehicle called Canadile Miners was accepted.

Sources said Mubaiwa hoped revenues from the Marange operation would cover costs so Canadile could operate without the $2 billion financing that was supposed to come from BSGR, a major South African group.

Ministry officials started asking questions when an initial $100 million investment in the Marange operation that was supposed to be provided by BSGR never materialized.

Analyst Charles Mangongera said the case now in court in Harare is just the tip of the Marange iceberg.

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