Global Witness and PAC Reject Zimbabwe Diamond Bribe Allegations



Global Witness and
Partnership Africa Canada June 28 categorically rejected allegations that they
offered to support Zimbabwe’s bid to resume diamond exports in exchange for a
1% cut of the profits.

The allegation arose
out of a weeklong meeting of the Kimberley Process diamond certification
scheme, where Zimbabwe’s compliance with the scheme’s minimum requirements was
hotly debated.

On Sunday, the
Zimbabwean newspaper The Sunday Mail, quoted the Minister of Mines, Obert
Mpofu, who led Zimbabwe’s delegation at the meeting, as saying that Global
Witness and PAC approached him with the “money-for-support” proposal,
which he rejected as “extortion”. He said that the groups
“wanted 1 percent of our sales from Chiadzwa for their operations”
and that in return they “would lobby for the endorsement of our
diamonds”.  

The campaigners said
that the source of the rumor was likely to be a late-night brainstorming
session at which the idea was floated of using 1% of any future diamond sales
to create a protection fund for Zimbabwean civil society. According to the
groups, there was never any suggestion that this money would be as a reward for
allowing exports to resume before the situation on the ground had improved.