Zimbabwe Parliament Summons Mugabe Over Diamond Case

Zimbabwe Parliament Summons Mugabe Over Diamond Case Zimbabwe Parliament Summons Mugabe Over Diamond Case

Zimbabwe’s parliament has summoned former president Robert Mugabe to give evidence about a claim he made about huge-scale diamond theft.

Mugabe accused foreign mining firms of “swindling” and “smuggling” in an interview on state-run TV in 2016. “The companies have virtually robbed us of our wealth,” he said, adding that the treasury had seen little of about $15b they had earned, BBC reported.

It is not clear if the 94-year-old will agree to appear before the committee.

During his last decade in office, several entities, including the army, police and a Chinese state company, were given vast tracts of concessions to mine diamonds at the rich Marange fields in the east of the country.

Themba Mliswa, who heads parliament’s mining committee, told Zimbabwe’s state-run Herald paper that the panel had interviewed former Marange mining executives as well as the police, army and intelligence services.

He said the committee had resolved to invite the former president “to explain the disappearance of the $15b worth of diamonds… We have set May 9 as the date on which he will give evidence.”

However, last month Mugabe said he was not clear where the figure of $15b had come from.

“I was given that by some officials, that figure had been circulating around, but really it was not confirmed,” he told the privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent.

If Mugabe does appear before the committee, it would be his first public appearance since his resignation.

He was forced to resign last December in the wake of a military takeover, and still has the privileges of a former head of state.

In 2006, more than 20,000 illegal diggers descended on the Marange fields. Reports followed of large-scale killings by Zimbabwe’s security forces to stop the smuggling, prompting Marange diamonds to be banned in 2009.

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