Senior officials of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation arrested on Friday on charges of fraud and abuse of office in the awarding of mining concessions in the Marange field to Canadile Mining of South Africa, along with an official of the mining firm, were arraigned on Monday before a Harare magistrate.
The officials and mining executive denied the charges, but Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe remanded the six to police custody and said he would rule on Tuesday on the bail application filed on their behalf by attorneys.
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation CEO Dominic Mubaiwa and five others are accused of misrepresenting to Mines Minister Obert Mpofu that Canadile Mining had the financial capacity to develop the Marange alluvial diamond field. A second company said to have agreed to finance the proposed operation allegedly does not exist.
Commenting on the case, attorney Tinoziva Bere said that while the charges against Canadile executives, if borne out, would vindicate activists like Farai Maguwu on the lack of transparency in Marange, it was difficult to see authorities giving Zimbabweans a clear view of what has been happening there through testimony in a major trial.
Meanwhile London-listed African Consolidated Resources said Monday it has been charged with fraud and violating the country's Mines and Minerals Act and that its representatives would soon appear in High Court.
ACR said in a statement that it faced allegations of unlawfully acquiring diamond claims in Marange by submitting applications in the name of subsidiaries not unregistered at the time.
"ACR has been legally advised that this should make no difference to the validity of the Marange claims and accordingly that the charges are groundless," the company statement said. The Zimbabwe government cancelled the company's claims in the controversial Marange fields in 2006.
A High Court judge confirmed ACR's claims in a 2009 ruling but rescinded his own decision this year, citing irregularities in the acquisition and registration of claims. No date has been set for the hearing.