Crying for ZimbabweDecember 11, 08
“As a military h
The article describes the fields where this particular slaughter, as well as others similar to it, took place and how silent and mostly empty they were, sealed off by soldiers in an effort to stop any one from returning. Though the article didn’t really explain the quiet or almost barrenness of these fields, Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen gave the answer. “The Dutch embassy in Zimb
The only reason for killing diamond diggers is to en
Such a statement is many years overdue. It also opens a Pandora’s Box for the diamond industry. This is because, currently, the Kimberley Process (KP) only prohibits the trade in “rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments.”
However, governments that use diamond revenue to terrorize their own people are “quite all right” in terms of the KP system. A military that kills diamond diggers at random is no reason for a country to jeopardize its KP membership status. Incidentally, it is also “quite all right” for totally corrupt governments to allow and encourage diamond revenues to end up in the Swiss bank accounts of their leaders, their family members and their military. As of now, these corrupt governments maintain the full right to issue KP certificates.
Less than One Certificate per Month
In fact, in Zimb
Just last month at the Kimberley Process Plenary in New Delhi and in its official press release, KP authorities noted, in quite a shockingly simple manner, the Scheme’s “concern with the continuing challenges to KP implementation in Zimb
The KP administration in Harare is actually fairly well organized; it functions properly and is headed by good people. They have, however, no work. Classified Kimberley Process data show that in the first nine months of 2008, the Zimb
Quite removed from the violent areas in the Northeast, Rio Tinto exploits three kimberlite pipes; this is a very different scenario from the country’s informal diamond sectors. Rio Tinto supports a wide variety of community projects in the area, which may provide the best justification to allow Zimb
We need to understand what is happening in Zimbabwe’s diamond fields – and what is happening to the country’s diamonds. According to press reports, the diamond fields have become the last resort for money for President Mugabe’s thoroughly corrupt regime. The rest of the country has already been plundered bare; there is nothing left. This claim is prob
Until recently, Zimbabwe’s corrupt
The money collected by Mug
It had been reported in this column a few months ago that a huge part of the rough processed in Surat originated from Zimb
The Indian police are trying to intercept smugglers. “Recently, two citizens of Guinea and Lebanon were held for ‘smuggling’ diamonds worth a few hundred thousand dollars. Both were known to have imported diamonds to India via Dubai, without KPCS and they are languishing in Surat jail now. Locals say there are hundreds of such cases which go unreported,” reports India Commodity On-Line.
But smuggled Zimbabwe diamonds don’t end up just India. This week, the Los Angeles Times published, in a syndicated article appearing in several U.S. dailies, interviews with a number of smugglers. According to an excerpt, “Itai, 28, got into trading diamonds 18 months ago. He smuggles them in his mouth across the border to sell to Lebanese and Isra
Many of the smuggled diamonds from Zimbabwe appearing in the markets have valid Kimberley Certificates – official paper purchased somewhere en route in South Africa, other African countries, the Middle East or elsewhere.
Undoubtedly, we have a problem.
KP Mandate Limited
Technically, these diamonds are not classified as “conflict diamonds.” They weren’t mined by rebels using the money to fight the legitimate government. Therefore, the diamonds meet the KP criteria. After all, they were merely mined by cronies of the “legitimate” government in order to keep that regime in power – or just to enrich themselves.
It is quite disgusting. Zimb
How much money are we talking
WDC Chairman Eli Izhakoff’s statement that “Zimb
Reporting from Mutare, in the heart of the Manicaland Province, Robert Dixon of the Los Angeles Times quotes a local source, saying: “The diamond game is the filthiest game in town, and everyone's into it. It's not even semi-organized chaos. It's a bunch of thieves who backst
The WDC said this week that the diamond industry has already taken action and is providing customs authorities, diamond bourses and the KP people with expert instruction and photographic examples to assist in identifying the type of diamonds being illegally exported from Zimbabwe. Also, the organized trade has been urged to exercise extreme caution and vigilance when trading in rough diamonds.
Are there other things that can be done? The NGOs have lately called for the KP mandate to be toughened in order to curtail this illicit trade, i.e. to curtail smuggling. As much as I sympathize with such an idea, this simply cannot be done. Smuggling is not an invention of the diamond industry and almost 100 percent of the smuggling in the world is in other products. Fighting smuggling is the responsibility of law enforcement and customs officials in the respective countries. This is far removed from the KP, which is mainly governed by officers of foreign or commerce ministries.
Smuggling is a predicate money laundering offense. Anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) programs are in place in most of the diamond industry, and they are continuously being strengthened. They are also effective. But smuggled diamonds are not the same as conflict diamonds. If someone smuggles a Diamond Trading Company (DTC) sight box from southern Africa to Europe, that doesn’t make the goods “conflict diamonds.”
I am the last one to condone smuggling, but also the first one to warn the NGOs not to make the mistake of equating illicit diamonds with conflict diamonds, as was done in the NGO presentations at the Kimberley Process Plenary in New Delhi. None of this lament helps Zimb
Crying for Zimb
Recently, I received a long letter from E.E.H in Harare, which I would like to partially quote: “I reckon that these are the last days of TKM and ZPF. The darkest hour is always before dawn. We are all terrified at what they are going to destroy next…I mean they are actually ploughing down brick and mortar houses and one family with twin boys of 10 had no chance of salvaging anything when 100 riot police came in with AK47's and bulldozers and demolished their beautiful house - 5 bedrooms and pine ceilings - because it was 'too close to the airport', so we are fe
“You know - I am aware that this does not help you sleep at night, but if you do not know - how can you help? Even if you put us in your own mental ring of light and send your guardian angels to be with us - that is a help - but I feel so cut off from you all knowing I cannot tell you what's going on here simply because you will feel uncomfort
“This Government has GONE MAD and you need to help us publicize our plight – or how can we be rescued? It's a reality! The petrol queues are a reality, the pall of smoke all around our city is a reality, the thousands of homeless people sleeping outside in 0 Celsius with no food, water, shelter and bedding are a reality. Today a family approached me, brother of the gardener's wife with two small children. Their home was trashed and they will have to sleep outside. We already support 8 adult people and a child on this property, and electricity is going up next month by 250% as is water. How can I take on another family of 4 – and yet how can I turn them away to sleep out in the open?
“Censorship! We no longer have SW radio [which told us everything that was happening] because the Government jammed it out of existence - we don't have any reporters, and no one is allowed to photograph. If we had reporters here, they would have an
We, in the diamond business, ought to start thinking
There is no war in Zimb
Have a thoughtful weekend.