Thursday, March 17, 2011

Biti, Mpofu diamond income dispute 'put to rest'

A GOVERNMENT audit of proceeds from diamond sales has been completed and disputes between ministers over the matter “have been put to rest”, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said.

The verification showed that US$174 million was remitted to the Finance Ministry, Mpofu added, while expressing the hope that the money would be used to improve civil servants' pay.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has always insisted that “Treasury has only managed to reconcile US$62,1 million” of the diamond revenues from 2010, while pressing for greater transparency.

But Mpofu said after a meeting with Biti on Monday, the Finance Minister had “acknowledged and accepted the reconciliation of the US$174 million and this was reported to Cabinet on Tuesday”.
“That matter has been put to rest," the state-run Herald newspaper quoted Mpofu as saying.

Mpofu said the government had received its dividend share of US$174,223,814.88 from gross diamond sales of US$313,504,567.17 by Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources.

"The objective of the verification was to address the plight of our civil servants. The civil servants' plight needs our united attention,” Mpofu added.

Officials from the Ministries of Finance, Mines and Mining Development, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and the Minerals Marketing Corporation took part in the reconciliation exercise.

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