Mugabe's wife implicated in illegal diamond trade

2010-12-09 17:42

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's wife was among those who gained millions of dollars from illegal diamonds mined in the east of the country, according to a US cable obtained by WikiLeaks.

"High-ranking Zimbabwean government officials and well-connected elites are generating millions of dollars in personal income by hiring teams of diggers to hand-extract diamonds," US Ambassador James McGee wrote to Washington in 2008.

"They are selling the undocumented diamonds to a mix of foreign buyers, including Belgians, Israelis, Lebanese, Russians and South Africans, who smuggle them out of the country for cutting and resale elsewhere."

The cable then discussed a meeting with Andrew Cranswick, chief executive of the British mining firm African Consolidates Resources, that had a claim to the Chiadzwa mine revoked by the Harare government, according to McGee.

"According to Cranswick, there is a small group of high-ranking Zimbabwean officials who have been extracting tremendous diamond profits from Chiadzwa," it said, naming Mugabe's wife Grace and Central Bank governor Gideon Gono.

The Chiadzwa mine is in the Marange district of eastern Zimbabwe.

The diplomatic message, released on Wednesday, said the diamond site had attracted a "swarm of several thousand local diggers" and "the police response has been violent, with a handful of homicides reported each week".

Other Zimbabwean government officials implicated in the siphoning of diamonds from the Marange fields include Vice President Joyce Mujuru and the head of the army, General Constantine Chiwenga, said the cable.

International regulator the Kimberley Process barred the sale of Marange diamonds in November 2009 following reports of human rights abuses by the army at the mine.

A monitor appointed by the watchdog in July partially lifted the ban, saying Zimbabwe had ceased abuses by the military, which seized control of the Marange fields in late 2008 and forced out tens of thousands of small-scale miners.

However following an auction in August it was again suspended.

  • abrham - 2010-12-09 17:58

    what is new, i think comrade mbeki like diamonds

  • JuaKali - 2010-12-09 18:02

    Jeez,.....gobsmacked! Wikileak-ingtheobvious. Again.

  • Monica - 2010-12-09 18:03

    An article like this should not appear on any web-site. Killed the famers and removed them from their farms whilst the presidents wife takes a plane to go an do shopping in Paris? Now the country has no food and their citiziens fled to South Africa where they will get killed as we have very angry black people in our country wanting houses and houses are being ginven to the Zimbabwians. What is wrong with this government. Put sanctions against Zimbabwia and do not allow any more Zimbabwians to enter the country! We cannot even provide for our own people!

      gregx - 2010-12-09 18:33

      Exactly, and nothing gets done about it. The sad part is the morons vote for Bobo again, and again. They deserve what they get.

      Hope123 - 2010-12-09 20:07

      Ag you are a racist! wink wink

      U1 - 2010-12-09 21:26

      African priorities.

      Schmalcolm - 2010-12-10 08:39

      oh the compassion

      Bevan11 - 2010-12-10 09:24

      Ah xenophobia, where've we seen this before. It was great for SA's international reputation the first time round wasn't it Monica? Can you even name one country in the world that bars all people of a certain nationality. Just one? Fortunately most economists will tell you that South Africa (historically a country of immigrants) would grind to a halt within months without Zimbabweans, Mozambicans and other migrants, just like the US economy without Mexicans, not to mention the sanctions which would come from the AU and the UN for driving out "outsiders" like Hitler drove out the Jews. Then the "angry bleks" would come after the land like they will in South Africa eventually anyway unless something definitive is done about eradicating poverty. Which is probably where yesterday's news about nationalising the mines comes from. Wake up, listen to Malema - the guy Wikileaks called a "Kingmaker" - its happening here already. Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.....

  • william.botha - 2010-12-09 18:04

    Who is more guilty here, seller or buyer?

      Francois - 2010-12-10 14:32

      You need both for a trade? Don't you?

      william.botha - 2010-12-10 21:16


  • daspoort - 2010-12-09 18:25

    Wow, I would have never ever ever ever suspected anyone connected to Mugabe or Zanu PF to have any ties to criminal activities. That also applies to the ANC. I am shocked.

      Shadoz - 2010-12-10 17:04

      yeah i can't beleive..

      AJ - 2010-12-15 13:34

      Yeah, right out of left field, I too am stunned.

  • gregx - 2010-12-09 18:30

    Oh big F"£$%n surprize, corrupt to the hilt. Typical bobo, Get rich and watch their people starve, it's such an african cliche.

  • Pragmatist - 2010-12-09 18:36

    same old african story - why don they just nuke the place and start again?

      WhyLikeThis - 2010-12-09 19:17

      You know cockroaches are immune to nukes....Oh, wait wrong one, Zille is supposed to be the cockroach.

  • Dan - 2010-12-09 18:38

    Not big news when compare to "who" sits behind all SA's mining & exploration rights. All the ANC big wigs and their families/friends. Yes, they are raping Africa and when nothing is left to destroy further they will return to the bush and Africa will be Africa again. That's the sad story of Africa.

  • dave.cohen2 - 2010-12-09 18:39

    As if we didn't know that this was going on! What about our own cabinet ministers. Birds of a feather.

  • shon - 2010-12-09 18:48

    who is more guilty here...settler or native?

      No.7 - 2010-12-10 07:22

      the natives were settlers once burn

  • Markis - 2010-12-09 18:56

    She is Mashonalizing the Mines!! Eish...

  • Hope123 - 2010-12-09 19:29

    No!!! Who would of thought??? Such a caring African person she.....

  • Francois - 2010-12-09 19:53

    We did not need Wikileaks for this. Only Racist Mbeki pretended that he did not know. The problem is that the world cannot just let the Mugabes go silently, they need to return the loot. In my opinion without prejudice, I think Bob has a lever on Zuma as he did with Racist Mbeki and I will not be surprised if that lever is the fact that they shared in the spoils - thus they cannot pull the plug on Mad Bob, because he will then spill the beans in just the same way as Zuma threatened to spill the beans if he did not get a political settlement for his gains of the arms deal. Now Wikileaks will be cool if they can proof this (most probably the Kamphephe report can), because then we will see four Southern African Presidents in the Hague, Bob, Racist Mbeki, Baas Zuma and Oubaas Mothlanthe!

  • Mundu - 2010-12-09 20:07

    Wasn't JZ just there? He must have been out to collect his share of the diamonds.

  • goyougoodthing - 2010-12-09 20:31

    Hence julius wants to nationalise our mines...

  • Vaal Donkie - 2010-12-09 20:45

    Yes, and water is wet. Please report on things we don't know.

  • business-sci - 2010-12-09 21:08

    This is no suprise. as for the 1st lady of that country, always in the news - notorious indeed.

  • croix - 2010-12-10 06:53

    Same old, same old ...... the nature of the hyena cannot be changed, merely the setting. These Zim-hyenas are just the same as any other, so why should we expect different outcomes? What is very, very sad, is the way in which starving workers are abused to do their 'dirties' for them - for a mere pittance ! Shame on (most of) Africa's "Leaders"!! Funny , I cannot think of a single exception right now!?

  • HAggardGnome - 2010-12-13 09:41

    What a horrible woman! I hope that she gets the same kind of treatment that Mussolini's girlfriend got when they caught them!

  • AJ - 2010-12-15 13:33

    They want 'leaders' like this and to be consigned to a lifetime of misery by those they entrust to 'serve' them, then they can have them. It happens up and down the length of this 'great' continent, and there is one common thread, the populations just dont get it. They are happy to be shifted around emotionally and naively like cattle. The look to their leaders on how to behave, on how to feel, and on what to belive. No invidviduality of thought, no self-awareness on how they can change their own lives. The story is the same a parasitic elite feeding off the naive. Furthermore it is amazing that someone, knowning full well the population may live off a dollar a day, will steal tens of millions of dolalrs and STILL come back for more.

  • Larro - 2011-06-20 07:41

    Shocking, who would have thought.....

  • onetickie - 2011-06-21 14:15

    We all know they're criminal thugs/thieves so whats new. And at the same time SA welcomes them (along with all the other despots in Africa) with open arms/hospitality.

  • stefventerza - 2011-07-04 19:04

    Yes and the country is dying off hunger while coverment officials thrive. Just look at Mugabe's palace. And Nato dont do anything or even think off it. They take on Gadaffi, but why not do same with Zimbabwe. Shame on all corrupt coverment people all over the world.

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