Former mines secretary Gundyanga held shares in State diamond firm ZCDC, Parliament hears

Francis Gudyanga

HARARE,– Former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Mines and Minerals, Francis Gudyanga and an undisclosed individual owned shares in the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company, although government later bought them out, a Parliament committee heard on Tuesday.

ZCDC was formed in 2016 after the government ordered all diamond miners in Marange to cease operations on February 22, 2016 after they declined proposals to nationalise the industry. The claims were then given to the new firm, which was then placed under the government’s arm, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).

“ZCDC was owned in terms of the Companies Act and we sought to regularise it as a subsidiary of ZMDC because there was the issue of shares owned by Gudyanga and another person, but government bought all the shares and now has 100% ownership,” the legal officer in the mines ministry, Jackie Manyonga told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines .

Gudyanga has been at the epicentre of Zimbabwe’s mineral trade, after he was appointed a one-man board for key mining parastatals, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, Minerals Marketing Corporation and Marange Resources between 2013 and 2016, making him a central figure in the diamond dealings at the verdant Chiadzwa fields.

He was taken to court in April to answer several cases of graft.

At his court appearance in April, Gundyanga said his life was under threat from ‘dark forces’ if he discloses what he knows about diamond mining deals in the Chiadzwa fields.

Never far from controversy, he was also at the centre of efforts by government to secure a loan from China in exchange for Zimbabwe’s minerals in 2014 and In 2016, he ordered mysterious payments amounting to $1.3 million to Glamer Limited through Israeli farm input firm Pedstock Investments, a unit of Nikuv International Projects Limited.

Nikuv gained notoriety among opposition groups in Zimbabwe after its alleged role in manipulating the country’s voter list ahead of the disputed 2013 election in which former President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF regained untrammeled power following four years of sharing power with the opposition.

Meanwhile, Mines Minister Winston Chitando has appointed a new board for the Mines and Minerals Corporation of Zimbabwe, which will be chaired by former ZMDC chairman, David Murangari.

Other members of the board  include Chamber of Mines president Isaac Kwesu, Rose Mukogo, Ignatius Tichivangana, Merch Manyuchi, Ester Maravanyika and Jermister Chininga.