The directors of various mining companies working in conjunction with the Zimbabwean government to develop the controversial Marange diamond field appeared Tuesday before the Zimbabwean Parliament’s Committee on Mines, the Voice of America reported Wednesday.
The government-controlled mining companies Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Miners took control of the Marange mining area after title holder African Consolidated Resources was driven out by President Robert Mugabe in 2006.
The companies’ directors, under the advice of Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, had previously refused to appear before Parliament for several weeks. Robert Mhlanga, representing Mbada, and Corgan Matanhire, representing Canadile, were questioned for more than four hours over Marange deals, such as the attempted auction of 300,000 carats of diamonds in January. The government had canceled the auction after it was discovered that the goods were not certified by the Kimberley Process.
The hearing was apparently very heated, according to VOA correspondents reporting from the Parliament, with legislators unhappy over the responses they received and warning the executives they would face charges if they lied.
Committee members also expressed concern that neither Mbada nor Canadile had experience in diamond mining, since Mbada is controlled by Reclamation Group, a South African scrap metal and iron dealer.