Monday, March 31, 2014

Mbada workers in $3m diamond scandal

Six employees with Mbada Diamonds at Chiadzwa are at the centre of a $3 million diamonds case for allegedly supplying several carats of the precious stones they stole from their employer to an Indian businessman in Mutare in a well-calculated scandal that saw them being paid with vehicles. 
Prominent Mutare lawyer Chris Ndlovu and businessman Mudassar Khan being escorted to court by CID details on Wednesday
Prominent Mutare lawyer Chris Ndlovu and businessman Mudassar Khan being escorted to court by CID details on Wednesday
This was revealed on Wednesday at the Mutare Magistrates’ Court where Mudassar Khan appeared before Mutare senior magistrate Mrs Sekesayi Chiundura facing 12 counts of illegally dealing in or possessing precious stones and theft charges.
The six — Simbarashe Gondo (sorter), Hardlife Kuudzehwe (dozer operator), Temba Mvalo (dozer operator), Talkmore Chigeza (sorter), Innocent Tsindi (power screen operator) and Alexander Daru (sorter) — have since confirmed their involvement in the scandal.
They allegedly received several vehicles from Khan as tokens of appreciation or payment for supplying the gems. The cars have since been recovered and impounded by the police.
Khan is the director of Akin Investments which is into diamond cutting and polishing. He is also a co-director at Kassim Wholesalers in Mutare.
Public prosecutor Mr Malvin Musarurwa told the court that the police got to know of the scandal following a tip-off.
“On March 18, a tip-off was received to the effect that the accused was illegally dealing in diamonds with Mbada Diamonds employees. The information further indicated that the accused was using his company licence as cover-up. As a result, between March 19 and 23, investigations were carried out into the matter and it was established that the accused was involved in the illegal dealings.
“The accused bought the diamonds from the employees who smuggled them out of the mining fields at Chiadzwa. The investigation further established that the accused recruited three agents, Charles Chave, Albie Marima and Charles Gonzo, as his runners. Their duties were mainly to transport the employees from Chiadzwa to Mutare and back to deliver the diamonds at his offices.”
After supplying the diamonds, the Mbada employees were allegedly given cars that range from $5 500 to $30 000.
Gonzo was allegedly given a Toyota Hilux (ABH 0248), Kuudzehwe allegedly received a Honda FIT (ADE 2003), Mvalo allegedly got a Mercedes-Benz (ACJ 8851), Chigeza was allegedly given two vehicles; a Honda FIT (ACV 2829) and a Mercedes-Benz sprinter. Tsindi and Daru allegedly got a Nissan March and Toyota Hiace minibus respectively.
The court also heard that the accused recruited Tapfumaneyi Karingamupembe to become his buyer of diamonds at Chiadzwa. The accused later claimed that Karingamupembe had caused a loss of $3 000 in one of their transactions.

As a result, the accused confiscated the buyer’s Toyata Chaser held under his custody and disposed it.
Mr Musarurwa opposed the granting of bail, saying the accused would interfere with State witnesses and that he had a propensity to keep on illegally dealing in the diamonds if he is left to go home.
The State called on the investigation officer, Chief Superintendent Alison Nyamupaguma, to tell the court why the accused should be denied bail.
He said Khan had earlier interfered with witnesses during investigations by telling them to lie that they did not receive the vehicles from them and that they must hide some of the exhibits.
“As we approached some of the witnesses, we discovered that the accused had influenced them, telling them not to tell the truth once approached by the investigating team. The accused phoned four of the Mbada Diamonds employees and influenced them not to disclose the nature of their transactions and also deny that he gave them the motor vehicles in question. Some of the vehicles had been removed from Mutare to Rusape. Certain exhibits are still out there and we need about three weeks because some of the people key to this case are in Gweru and Harare,” he said.
Chief Supt Nyamupaguma said if granted bail Khan would continue with the illegal trade.
“The accused’s licence expired on January 13, 2014. He will not stop dealing in diamonds because that is how he survives. Even when his licence expired, he kept on dealing in diamonds.”
Defence lawyer Mr Tafadzwa Charles Hungwe of Venturas and Samukange Legal Practitioners said his client was a good candidate for bail and was not a flight risk.
He said the Mbada employees were the chief culprits to this case and they must be in the dock together with Khan.
“These employees are alleged to have been transported by certain individuals to the accused. But where are these people? They are the suspects together with the employees. The accused person is not in any way involved.”
Mrs Chiundura granted Khan $3 000 bail with stringent reporting conditions.
She said arguments raised by the State that they needed time to finish investigations and thus the accused must be remanded in custody do not hold water because the police must investigate first before making arrests. She said since Khan handed himself over to the police in Harare after he heard of the investigations was sufficient enough to show that he would not abscond court.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


The Rainbow Collection, a unique collection of some 300 fancy colored diamonds owned by Belgian diamantaire Eddy Elzas, will be the chief exhibit in the trading hall of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) during the upcoming U.S. & International Diamond Week scheduled for April 6-10. 

After the conclusion of Diamond Week, the Rainbow Collection will be exhibited for the public at large until April 26 at the Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Museum in the Ramat Gan diamond exchange complex. 
Elzas, who started his collection some 40 years ago, said this is the 57th time his collection has been exhibited. "The historical value of this collection cannot be estimated. I started the collection at a time when fancy colored diamonds were regarded as inferior diamonds. These days, of course, are long gone!" Elzas recalled. "I am thrilled to be showing this collection for the first time in Israel, and the US & International Diamond Week is a perfect platform for showing this unique palette of fancy colored diamonds, including three rare, red diamonds," he added.
IDE President Shmuel Schnitzer said the collection would draw a great deal of attention, both from Israel Diamond Exchange members and buyers. "Israel is a leading manufacturing and trading hub for fancy colored diamonds and I count on overwhelming interest in this unique showpiece. And I am delighted that through the generous support of the Israel Diamond Institute and the cooperation with the Harry Oppenheimer Museum, the Israeli public will be able to get to see the Rainbow Collection as well."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jeweler Faces Grand Larceny in Consumer Diamond Scam

In the Buffalo, New York suburb of Williamsville, Amherst Police have charged jeweler Paul Blarr, 47, with three counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud in connection with selling diamond jewelry without real diamonds. 

Authorities reached out to consumers on March 24 urging them to check the authenticity of any diamond they had purchased from Blarr's business, the R.S.N.P. Diamond Exchange on Main Street in the village of Williamsville. According to reports, several police officers were victimized in the scheme. Local news stations reported that Amherst police also suspect the jeweler  may have scammed customers for years.
“We believe he has done this to dozens of people, based on the number of phone calls we’ve gotten,” Amherst Police Captain Enzio  Villalta said.
Additionally, workers from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Department allege they were sold what turned out not to be real diamonds.  Additional charges could be filed against Blarr due to sales tax issues, according to the police report.

Monday, March 24, 2014

De Beers hopes for diamond exploration rights in Angola by year-end

De Beers, the world’s largest diamond miner by market value, hopes to obtain a concession to explore in Angola by the end of this year, CE Philippe Mellier has said.

The London-based company, majority-owned by global miner Anglo American, is also holding initial talks with India about exploring in some areas in the centre-north of the country.
"We expect to have news about exploration licences before the end of this year and we are in contact with the Angolan government to discuss that. We hope that it’s going to be successful," Mr Mellier said in an interview with Reuters news agency last week.
Early-stage work in Angola should start later this year, a spokesman for the company added.
Russia’s Alrosa, De Beers’ main competitor, already operates the Catoca mine in Angola, the world’s fourth largest, in a joint venture with Angola’s state-owned Endiama.
De Beers previously explored for diamonds in Angola between 2005 and 2012 but concluded that a standalone deposit in the area was not economic and relinquished its concession.
It is now going back to explore a new area in the country, which Mr Mellier said was highly prospective.
Angola is the world’s fourth-largest diamond producer by value, and sixth by volume, and the government is keen to boost a sector where few companies are drilling. But the country needs to develop transport links and services for mining companies, and make geological data more accessible, according to a study published late last year.
Rough and polished

De Beers produced more than 31-million carats of diamonds last year at its existing operations in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Canada. The Botswana government owns 15% of De Beers, while Anglo American owns the rest.
With underlying operating profit of just more than $1bn in 2013, the diamond miner was the third-largest contributor to the Anglo American’s earnings.
De Beers, which mines and distributes rough diamonds and manufactures and sells diamond jewellery under its Forevermark brand, said rough diamond prices rose by about 2%-3% last year and have increased by a further 2%-3% this year.
Mr Mellier, a French national who before joining De Beers as CE in 2011 held senior positions at Ford, Renault and Alstom, said sentiment was upbeat this month at the Hong Kong international diamond show, seen as a barometer of the health of the diamond industry.
"The Hong Kong show was pretty good, it was better than last year. We saw Chinese, Indians, Japanese were buying, and buying in good numbers," he said. "Expectations were high, because Chinese New Year was good and the first feedback I am getting is that it was in line with expectations or even better."
He said he expected 4%-4.5% growth in the dollar value of the global polished diamond market this year.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

HRD Antwerp Launching Certificate For Laboratory Grown Diamonds

HRD Antwerp is launching a Laboratory Grown Diamond Certificate in the wake of recent concerns about lab-grown diamonds entering the market undisclosed.
In accordance with International Diamond Council rules, the HRD Antwerp Laboratory Grown Diamond Certificate looks different from the standard certificate and mentions the clear wording “Laboratory Grown Diamond Certificate” on the cover.

Each laboratory grown diamond is clearly laser inscribed and the laser inscription is mentioned on the certificate, including a reference number and statement that the diamond has been lab-grown.

Each Laboratory Grown Diamond Certificate includes the same unique safety features as the standard HRD Antwerp diamond certificate, such as a watermark, embossed logo, fluorescent marks, line structure and a micro text.

HRD Antwerp CEO Serge Couvreur said, "Today, laboratory grown diamonds are commonly traded at prices that are 30-60 percent lower in comparison to natural diamonds, which take millions of years to grow.

"We feel that it is important that consumers are properly informed about the origin of the diamonds they buy. HRD Antwerp’s Laboratory Grown Diamond Certificate provides an objective and independent analysis of the diamond. After all, consumer confidence is our absolute number one priority.”

HRD Antwerp said in a statement that although lab-grown diamonds are still a relatively small market segment, production is rising significantly.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Interesting how some laboratories grade diamonds.

Interesting how some laboratories grade diamonds. Also how some dealers and jewellers are able to sell these stones to unsuspecting customers and still sleep at night. NOTE The link to certificate online check doesn't have the plotting, WHY? Actual weight is 4.997 cts, actual colour is J, actual purity well you can see that for your self. Comments welcome.

See link : DCLA

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ministers fingered in diamonds scam

Minister of State for Manicaland Province Christopher Mushowe allegedly ordered Diamond Mining Company to deposit money into an account he provided, effectively sidestepping the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust launched by President Mugabe in 2012.
Former Empowerment Minister Savior Kasukuwere and Dave Brown from Zimplats who were arm twisted into ceding shares
Former Empowerment Minister Savior Kasukuwere and Dave Brown from Zimplats
Further, Environment Environment, Water and Climate Minister Saviour Kasukuwere is accused of presenting a US$50 million false cheque to President Mugabe at the launch of the trust.
It is also alleged that the five diamond mining companies operating in Chiadzwa never pledged the US$50 million kitty presented when President Mugabe launched toward the trust.
The firms were said to have pledged US$10 million each, but yesterday they refuted the claim with some of them saying they had only pledged US$1,5 million each while others professed complete ignorance of the existence of the trust.
Minister Kasukuwere and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation are said to have instructed some of the mining companies to delay disbursement of the money.
The firms are Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Anjin Investments, Jinan and Diamond Mining Company.
The mining firms told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment that the establishment of the trust was mired in confusion and disorganisation.
Gokwe-Nembudziya MP, Cde Justice Wadyajena (Zanu-PF) chairs the committee. Anjin Investment board member Mr Munyaradzi Machacha said they had always worked with Minister Mushowe.
“The trust has not approached us. Minister Mushowe is the one we have been talking to. He was the contact person. He gave us the bank account. We have not had any meeting with Marange-Zimunya Community Trust.
“All the correspondence we have had is through the Minister of State for Manicaland because he claims he has a working relationship with the Marange-Zimunya Community Trust. We have not had any business meeting with the trust,” said Mr Machacha.
Mr Machacha also claimed that Minister Kasukuwere, who was then Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister, advised them that fulfilling the pledges to the trust could be done over five years.
As such, he said they did not see the need to urgently fulfill the pledge considering that they had also hit a hard rock.
“When we made that pledge (US$1,5 million), we were made to believe that we could make payments over time. Minister Kasukuwere gave indications that we could do so over a period of five years.”
Quizzed by Cde Wadyajena if they had misled President Mugabe and presented a falsified cheque, Mr Machacha said: “He (Minister Kasukuwere) knew that there was no money at all. It was just a dummy cheque.”
DMC board chairperson, Brigadier-General (Retired) Ezekiel Zabanyana said ZMDC never gave them a go ahead to donate toward the trust.
“This is where we lacked the strategic plan or some means to ensure this was implemented. We did approach ZMDC and as our boss they said let’s leave that,” he said.
DMC general manager Mr Ramzi Malik also said they only pledged US$1,5 million.
“We never pledged US$10 million. We asked ZMDC to go and identify areas of major importance and give each company the programme which will take the contributions to. ZMDC went and did that exercise but never came back to us.
“We need engagement and a co-ordinated effort. Let’s not just throw figures out there. Let’s meet and discuss figures before we go to the press,” he said.
Mbada Diamonds board chairperson Dr Robert Mhlanga said they were never part of the trust but donated US$200 000 out of “courtesy”.
“I would like to initially highlight that Mbada Diamonds has contributed US$200 000. However, Mbada Diamonds has never made a pledge to the share scheme. There was no formal communication soliciting for a pledge from Mbada Diamonds. Not even informal. We have not been contacted to make a pledge as a company,” said Dr Mhlanga.
“In fact, there is a lot of miscommunication which has taken place around this thing concerning the Marange-Zimunya Trust. To say there is anything organised no! Because if there was anything formal, we would have been advised by our parent ministry we then would have acted accordingly. We 100 percent have not made any pledge,” he emphasised.
Jinan marketing manager, Mr Enock Moyo said their company was not represented at the July 2012 meeting where pledges were made.
The parliamentary committee, however, booted out the team whom they felt were unqualified to comment on issues concerning the company after Mr Moyo said senior managers were busy elsewhere.
Marange Resources acting CEO Mr Mark Mabhudhu said his firm availed US$200 000 toward the trust but expressed willingness to contribute more if their financial position improved.
Trustees to the scheme last week alleged there was interference by politicians in Manicaland in the trust’s affairs. They said this resulted in the diamond mining companies not fulfilling their pledges.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Gem Diamonds Sells Two 160+ Ct Diamonds

Gem Diamonds has sold two 160+-carat diamonds recovered from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho at the end of January.
The miner said a 162.06-carat type II stone sold for $11.1 million ($68,687 per carat) and a 161.74-carat type I diamond sold for $2.4 million ($14,636 per carat).

“These two rough diamonds … both achieved top prices, in accordance with their respective color, clarity and expected polished yield, at Letšeng’s February tender.”

Both diamonds were recovered in largely undamaged condition.

Gem Diamonds holds a 70-percent stake in the Letšeng mine as well as the Ghaghoo mine, currently in development in Botswana. Since Gem Diamonds’ acquisition of Letšeng in 2006, the mine has produced four of the top-20 largest white gem quality diamonds recorded.