Zimbabwe's House Committee on Mines warned government officials that they risk being charged with corruption and sentenced to prison if they keep mismanaging the controversial Marange diamond field of Manicaland province and embarking on deals prejudicial to the national interest.
Committee Chairman Chindori Chininga told Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation Chief Executive Dominic Mubaiwa in a hearing that he would be held responsible for corrupt deals and any financial losses to the nation even if he should plead ignorance of what has been happening.
The committee blasted the parastatal agency for incompetence, especially when Mubaiwa insisted he knew nothing about a planned auction of diamonds which his institution’s partner, Mbada Holdings, was forced to cancel last month under pressure from the Office of the Prime Minister.
Committee members expressed irritation that Mubaiwa could not name other Mbada directors although the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation holds a controlling interest in the private company formed to develop the alluvial deposits in Marange, site of alleged human rights abuses.
Studio Seven Harare correspondent Irwin Chifera reported on the tough questioning of Mubaiwa by parliamentarians.
Elsewhere, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has not disclosed the whereabouts of diamonds he removed last week from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe despite a Supreme Court ruling saying all gems from the field should be held in custody at the central bank until a mining claims case between African Consolidated Resources and the Zimbabwean government has been resolved.
Political analyst Farai Maguwu of the Center for Research and Development in Mutare, Manicaland's capital, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that he believes Mpofu's actions last week reflect a deepening struggle within ZANU-PF over the diamonds coming out of the Marange field.