The government of Zimbabwe admits it has lost 350,000 carats of rough diamonds, with an estimated value of $140m.
They were stored at repositories belonging to Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC). Both are wholly owned by the government.
In a newly-released report, the country’s Auditor-General Mildred Chiri said serious loopholes in diamond stock reconciliation provided opportunities for looting, according to the New Zimbabwe news website.
“Sometimes laxity in systems can be created to enable corrupt or fraud behaviour to thrive,” Chiri said.
Some of the diamonds had been sold to dealers who smuggled them out of Zimbabwe for foreign currency, she said.
Zimbabwe’s rough typically sells for $400 a carat, valuing the 350,000 carats at $140m.
ZCDC responded to the report with a pledge to engage a diamond stock controller to prevent future “leakages”.