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U.S: Zimbabwe Minister Should Disclose Diamond Sales

Observers have dismissed as suspicious remarks by Mines Minister Obert Mpofu that at least $20 million in diamond sales linked to companies on targeted sanctions has been impounded by the United States and its allies.

They said there is no tangible evidence that diamond sales generated by Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources have been targeted by America, Britain and other nations which imposed sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle.

Project manager Melanie Chiponda of Chiadzwa Community Development Trust said it is difficult to prove Mpofu’s allegations due to lack of transparency in the mining of the gems in Manicaland Province.

“There is a lot of activity in Marange and we believe that those companies are making a lot of money through diamond sales,” said Chiponda.

Sharon Hudson-Dean, public affairs counselor of the U.S. Embassy in Harare said companies mining diamonds in Marange are shortchanging Zimbabweans.

“We believe that Mr. Mpofu and the people that he works with in terms of keeping trace of diamond sales and revenues should be transparent about the process and should disclose exactly what the sales are,” said Hudson-Dean.

The minister said Zimbabwe is now unlikely to earn the projected $600 million in diamond revenues as a result of the sanctions and depressed international prices of the gems.
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