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Round diamonds worth an estimated US$140 million dollars have disappeared from the supposedly impenetrable Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) repositories.

The diamonds weighed 350 000 carats.

According to previous auctions, Zimbabwean diamonds normally fetch about US$400 per carat, although this can rise to as much as US$12 000 per carat.

Auditor-General Mildred Chiri, in her report for 2019 which was recently released, revealed that both the MMCZ and ZMDC cannot account for up to 350 000 carats of diamonds which were kept in their vaults.

The matter has since been taken up by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development, which, at a hearing Monday, demanded answers.

The committee is chaired by Shurugwi South legislator (Zanu PF) Edmond Mkaratigwa.

Environment and minerals watchdog, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), was also invited to present its analysis of the situation.

Chiri’s investigation also revealed serious diamond stock reconciliation loopholes which she said could provide the avenue for looting.

She also reported that some diamonds were sold in the Zimbabwean dollar to local customers, who later spirited the precious gemstones outside the country, pocketing foreign currency in the process.

Curiously, the identities of the customers were not revealed even to the auditor general herself.

“In 2019, 297 660, 41 carats of diamond stock held at MMCZ was not counted at the time of the stock count. These parcels were packed for customers and held at MMCZ. However, at year-end, during the stock count, these stocks were not included in closing inventories,” Chiri said in her report.

Read the original article on New Zimbabwe.