Grace Mugabe fingered in diamonds looting

Mbada Diamonds is one of the companies that were clandestinely awarded mining rights at Chiadzwa by President Robert Mugabe’s government.

Government sources revealed the First Lady had a substantial interest in Mbada Diamonds together with little known South African company, Grandwell Holdings and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.

“The First Lady is one of the shareholders in Mbada Diamonds,” said an official from the ministry of mines.

The official said eyebrows were raised after the First Lady was constantly meeting Robert Mhlanga, Mbada Diamonds’ chairperson.

Mhlanga, a retired top solider, is a close confidante to the First Family dating to the days of the Congo war when he was still in active service.

Mbada Diamonds caused a furor last year after it clandestinely flew over 300 000 carats of diamonds to Harare International Airport from Chiadzwa without police supervision.

The company wanted to auction the gems but the sale was stopped at the eleventh hour.

It was feared that the non-transparent manner in which the diamonds were transported, could have created room for corruption with some loads being diverted to other destinations before they reached Harare.

They were also worries that the government had no presence at the fields mined by Mbada Diamonds. With no representative on the ground, government had no idea how much Mbada was mining.

Human rights groups have in the past accused President Mugabe’s government of plundering the precious resource in Chiazdwa.

A human rights activist based in Mutare, Farai Maguwu burnt his fingers after he attempted to expose human rights violations and the looting of the gems by senior officials in government.

Maguwu was arrested and detained for five weeks on charges of spreading falsehoods prejudicial to the state.

He is out on stringent bail conditions. Police arrested Maguwu again on Monday and charged him with possession of a stolen vehicle.ends