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Zimbabwe Mines Ministry Instructs Diamond Partners Not to Respond to Parliament

Along with directors for another company, Mbada Holdings, Canadile Mining executives have repeatedly failed to appear before the Mines Committee to answer questions on diamond-mining operations in Marange

One of two companies mining diamonds in Zimbabwe's controversial Marange field, Canadile Miners, has told the parliamentary committee probing its operations that the Ministry of Mines has advised it not to respond to requests for information from the panel.

Along with directors for another company, Mbada Holdings, Canadile executives have repeatedly failed to come before the Mines Committee to answer questions on Marange operations and Mbada's attempted January auction of 300,000 carats of diamonds. The sale was called off after it came to the attention of the government, which had not approved it.

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Irwin Chifera reported on the continuing showdown in Parliament.

Mines Committee member Moses Mare said he and his colleagues have been frustrated by the continued refusal of the Mines Minister Obert Mpofu and the companies developing the Marange field in a joint venture with the government to respond to questions from his panel.

Mare told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that his panel will issue summonses if company directors and ministry officials fail appear on Tuesday as instructed by the committee.

Political analyst Farai Maguwu, director of the Center for Research and Development in Mutare, capital of the province of Manicaland in which the Marange field is located, said the refusal to appear by Mpofu and the two firms suggests that what has been going on in Marange cannot stand the light of day.

Meanwhile, sources said the Ministry of Mines and the Ministry of Finance have agreed to deploy officers from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority or ZIMRA to monitor operations in the Marange field to ensure that raw diamonds are not being diverted.

The officers were to be dispatched immediately following a meeting between the two ministers and ZIMRA chief Geshom Pasi, sources said.