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Mugabe: Diamond smuggling cost Zim economy $13bn

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Harare- Illicit trade in Zimbabwean diamonds cost the economy more than $13bn, forcing the state to create a new company that’s taken control of the country’s deposits, President Robert Mugabe said.

The government on February 22 ordered all diamond-mining companies to end operations and vacate their premises in the Marange and Chimanimani areas and announced the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond will take over mining. The state has earned about $2bn from the gems as about $15bn was generated by the industry, Mugabe said on Thursday on state television in the capital, Harare. He didn’t provide a time frame.

“Lots of smuggling and swindling has taken place and the companies that have been mining, I want to say robbed us of our wealth,” Mugabe said. “That is why we decided that this area should be a monopoly area and only the state should be able to do the mining in that area.”

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