Officials in Mines and Mining Development, Minister Obert Mpofu’s ministry, the police and some courts have failed to account for the precious stones.
Chiadzwa, the self-styled Chief of the Marange diamond producing area was arrested two years for allegedly possessing about 8kg’s of diamonds during a police and military crackdown on illegal diamond dealings.
The businessman was sentenced to serve five years in prison by Mutare magistrate Billard Musakwa last March for illegal possession of the gems.
He was released from jail in June after the High Court Judge Andrew Mutema nullified both his conviction and sentence after state lawyers from the Attorney-General’s Office failed to appear incourt to argue a review application.
Chiadzwa now wants the High Court to order the release of his diamonds.
However, his court case has left the police, court and some Ministry of Mines officials exposed as they cannot account for the diamonds, which were produced in court as exhibits during his trial.
In a response to a letter written by Chiadzwa’s lawyers of P Chiutsi Legal Practitioners, Mutare Provincial Magistrate Lucy Mungwari said the diamonds were uplifted from the court by some ministry of mines officials since they posed a security risk at court.
“Effectively the 8/61 kg of precious stones that you requested were never handed over to the clerk of court for exhibits but instead upon completion of the matter by the presiding officer were released into the custody of the mines officials I year and 4 months ago,” reads part of Musakwa’s letter.
Mpofu’s ministry requested Chiadzwa to furnish them with receipts from the police station whose police officers confiscated the diamonds and a written statement for them before they could release the gems.
In a letter written by a legal officer in Mpofu’s ministry only identified as Muchinguri, the ministry said the businessman should wait for the publication of a notice by their permanent secretary in the government gazette confirming that the precious stones so
forfeited are in his possession.
“There has not been any publication in the government gazette yet. The ministry is trying to facilitate the publication. Two months after publication the person claiming rights to the precious stones may then apply to the secretary,” reads part of Muchinguri’s letter.
But Chiadzwa’s lawyers contested the ministry’s position saying the order of forfeiture fell away because their client was acquitted of the charges.
The police, who were also petitioned to release the diamonds by Chiadzwa said “some formalities” were currently being done without elaborating.
Chiadzwa is seeking an order for the release of the diamonds to the registrar of the high court and subsequently to the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe who should pay him the proceeds after a proper and correct valuation of the gems.
“I am extremely concerned that despite my official communications the respondents have ignored me and I feel that my diamonds may have been unlawfully disposed or will be unlawfully disposed of to my prejudice,” Chiadzwa said in his founding affidavit.