By Elias Mambo and Obey Manayiti
THE single biggest local beneficiary of Anjin Investments Pvt Ltd’s diamond mining revenues was the military as it controlled a 30% stake in the joint venture with the Chinese government-owned corporation, the Anhui Foreign Economic Construction (Group) Co Ltd (Afec), the Zimbabwe Independent has established.
This news article is part of an ongoing ground-breaking investigation into the Marange alluvial diamonds discovery and subsequent plundering at various stages by state and non-state actors.
The special series is supported by the Investigative Journalism Fund.
Anjin is a joint venture between Afec, a large construction company which sources say is connected to the military-industrial complex in China, and Matt Bronze Enterprises, which was formed by the Defence ministry and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces through Glass Finish Investments (Pvt) Ltd.
The agreement to form a joint venture was signed by Brigadier-General Charles Tarumbwa for Matt Bronze (Pvt) Ltd and Peng Zheng on behalf of Anhui.
Information obtained showed Anjin’s Zimbabwean directors were drawn from the military and police. They included Defence ministry permanent secretary Martin Rushwaya, then senior assistant police commissioner Oliver Chibage, Munyaradzi Machacha, who works in Zanu PF’s commissariat department, director of Marange Resources Mabasa Temba Hawadii and assistant police commissioner Nonkosi Ncube.
Non-executive board members are retired army officer Morris Masunungure and retired colonel Romeo Mutsvunguma.
Contacted for comment, Zimbabwe Defence Forces spokesperson Colonel Overson Mugwisi referred all the questions to the Defence ministry permanent secretary Rushwaya. “All the questions with regards to Anjin and diamonds mining can be directed to the Ministry of Defence permanent secretary because we were not handling the issue,” Mugwisi said.
Anhui has run many projects across Africa, including army and police barracks in Ghana. In Zimbabwe, it built the US$98 million National Defence College along the Harare-Mazowe highway. The deal was financed by the Chinese state-owned Eximbank.
Military sources said this week the US$98 million Eximbank loan was guaranteed by proceeds from the diamonds mining to pay off the loan. Afec was in charge of the construction.
Zimbabwe’s diamond mining industry has been plagued by allegations of opacity, corruption and under-remittance of proceeds to Treasury, forcing the cash-strapped government to stop all diamond mining operations in order to form the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).
Anjin’s shareholding structure has been shrouded in mystery for years.
However, information shows that an intricate web of Chinese and Zimbabwean military networks controlled the country’s biggest diamond mining company, Anjin Investments (Pvt) Ltd through front or nominee companies designed to camouflage the involvement of security forces.
Military sources said Anjin also advanced loans to distressed parastatals with hopes of resuscitating them. “We helped to resuscitate distressed companies such as the Air Zimbabwe and Kingstones with hopes that they would keep afloat,” a source said.
“Anjin also contributed significant amounts to the Presidential Scholarship Fund and at times we advanced funds to government so that it could pay its civil servants,” the source said, adding: “By the time operations were stopped in February last year, all mining companies were contributing US$30 million to government every month.”
Another source also said it was not true that Anjin did not pay royalties to government.
“The auction was carried out by government and, when the money was deposited, the system was set in a manner where all royalties were immediately deducted.”
“Buyers were approved by government and the process of mining followed the approved Kimberly Process Certification Scheme procedure.”
The Chinese have been accused of creaming off US$200 million from Anjin.