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Zimbabwe's Cabinet Did Not Approve Sale of Rough Diamonds From Marange

Members of Cabinet say Mines Minister Mpofu misled the press.
Jul 2, 2010 11:47 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Zimbabwe mines minister Obert Mpofu told his nation's Cabinet this week that the country was cleared for selling and exporting rough diamonds from the Marange fields. Mpofu told the press corps that the Cabinet had approved the immediate sale of rough from Chiadzwa.

But now, according to the press corps, Cabinet members are furious. They claim that Mpofu misled them on Zimbabwe's status with the Kimberley Process (KP) and then misrepresented their decision to the press. 

"The Cabinet did not approve the sale of Marange diamonds," a senior government minister told the Zimbabwe Independent. 

The source said that all issues of Marange rough were "referred to the Cabinet committee on Chiadzwa. How can the Cabinet approve the sale of the Chiadzwa diamonds when the KPCS [Kimberley Process Certification Scheme] has not been concluded?" the source also told the Zimbabwe Independent.

Another member of the Cabinet told The Zimbabwean that "Apart from misleading the Cabinet, including President Robert Mugabe, Mpofu also misrepresented facts to the cabinet when he said the KP had approved the sale of the gems when, in fact, nothing of that sort had happened," a breaking story in that newspaper noted.

The Cabinet therefore refused to approve the sale of the diamonds outside the jurisdiction of the KP.

The Zimbabwean also cited one minister who concluded that Mpofu "just lies."

LH

Tags: Government, Jeff Miller, Kimberley Process, Marange Fields, Zimbabwe
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