Zimbabwean Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has complied with a Supreme Court ordering instructing him to return contested diamonds from the Marange field to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, from which he removed the stones early this month, sources said.
The court had ordered the 300,000 carats of diamonds worth millions of dollars to be held by the central bank pending resolution of a suit against the government by London-based African Consolidated Resources over revocation of its Marange mining rights.
When Mpofu, backed by police, took the diamonds from the Reserve Bank, he presented a document purporting to be from an official of the Supreme Court countermanding the recently issued ruling that the diamonds should be sequestered at the RBZ.
Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku then issued a new order to Mpofu to return the diamonds, also instructing Mbada holdings to cease its mining activities in the Marange field of Manicaland province under a joint venture with the government until the case is settled.
Deputy Mines Minister Murisi Zwizwai confirmed to VOA reporter Sandra Nyaira that Mpofu heeded Chidyausiku’s ruling and returned the diamonds.
The Supreme Court decision was in response to an appeal by the Ministry of Mines of a High Court order last September confirming ACR was the legitimate holder of mining rights on two Marange claims.
That High Court order said that even if the ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court - as it was - an eviction order against the military and others developing ACR's disputed claims would remain in force.
ACR Chief Executive Andrew Cranswick told VOA that his company is prepared to go into a joint venture with the government in Marange.