Abel Zhakata Senior Crime Reporter
Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company security guards are conniving with illegal panners to steal tonnes of diamond ore at Chiadzwa, a special investigating team has revealed.
The guards receive bribes from the illegal panners and let them into the diamond fields under the cover of darkness.
The Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Central Intelligence Organisation seconded a high level probe team to investigate illicit deals happening at the mine following a recent shocking incident in which it was alleged that soldiers and police officers manning the fields had disarmed ZCDC security guards and robbed the mine. Headquarters 3 Infantry Brigade Public Relations Officer, Captain Mugumbate, said the security guards cooked up the robbery story in a bid to cover their corrupt activities that had gone out of hand.
“Circumstances are that the following morning after the alleged robbery incident upon receiving the report, a team comprising special investigations officers drawn from the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Zimbabwe National Army and the CIO attended the scene of the alleged crime to carry out investigations. Upon carrying out the investigations, it was noted that there were a lot of inconsistencies in the way the matter was reported as the situation on the ground did not at all tally with what was reported.
“It was also established that the whole debacle could have been an act of connivance between the security guards who were on duty and a group of illegal diamond panners. Their conspiracy did not work out as planned as it appears the number of the illegal panners who came to collect the ore did not tally with the expected agreed number resulting in violent clashes thereby compromising the plot,” he said.
Captain Mugumbate said the situation got out of hand.
“It appears some of the illegal panners overhead of the plot before it was executed and they joined other illegal panners without being sanctioned by the guards resulting in them fighting out of panic as the number got uncontrollable at the site. Upon realising they have messed up, they had to cook the report in their favour in order to exonerate themselves from the blame. The security guards refused to carry out a positive identification parade of the security services deployed at the diamond mine. They argued that it was so dark that they could not positively see and remember the alleged robbers’ faces,” he said.
During investigations the security guards gave inconsistent and different evidence concerning the alleged robbery.
“The commander of the troops deployed at Anjin which is the nearest base to the place of the alleged robbery incident was also approached for questioning during the joint investigations. He indicated that he accounted for all his personnel and their weapons during his routine checks and patrols including the purported time of the robbery. All of his subordinates including their arms were in good order.
“The reports were false and a mere fabrication by ZCDC security guards aimed at covering up for their failure to perform their duties as security guards. The situation is further compounded by the failure to report on time by the company’s authorities to the command element of the security services deployed at the diamond mining field. The security officer of the ZCDC only managed to report the crime five hours after the alleged robbery. Such is against the Standing Operational Procedures which stipulates that incidences involving security forces should be reported to the command element with the urgency they so deserve.
“The delay in the reportage of the matter to the relevant and concerned command element who are responsible over the security forces deployed on Operation Hakudzokwi is something that makes the alleged robbery more questionable.
“Furthermore, it is disturbing to note that the reportedly injured security guards were rushed to be released and given off duties before an investigation could be initiated. It was only through efforts made by the security forces deployed at Chiadzwa that they were made available. Initially, they lied that the security guards were injured and admitted to the hospital, only to reveal that they have been given off-duty after the commanding officer of the troops deployed at Chiadzwa indicated interest to visit the hospital to see the condition of the alleged victimised security guards,” said Captain Mugumbate.