Wednesday, December 29, 2010

smuggled diamond money goes to Zim before vote

from Bloomburg:

...Chikwere and hundreds of other border smugglers are part of a chain whose money flows back into Zimbabwe...

The gems from Zimbabwe’s biggest diamond field in the Marange region are helping enrich the 86-year-old president’s party ahead of next year’s vote, according to Human Rights Watch, Partnership Africa Canada and the Zimbabwean opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, which governs in a forced coalition with Mugabe’s party.

Annual income from the gems may reach $2 billion, assuming the country is able to export them freely, the state-owned Herald newspaper cited Mines Minister Obert Mpofu as saying in October. Mugabe is trying to amass funds for the election campaign, said Tom Porteous, the U.K. director of New York-based Human Rights Watch, which has lobbied against abuses for the past 30 years.

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