Chinese’s billionaire in Zimbabwe and Angola diamond deals
PARLIAMENT of Zimbabwe’s Mines Committee lead by independent Member of Parliament Temba Mliswa are eager to know how their government entered into a joint diamond-mining deal know as Sino-Zim, with Chinese convict Sam Pa without doing a proper due diligence check on his background.
Sam Pa was also under scrutiny in investigation of oil deals in Angola by one of China’s biggest energy companies – Sinopec Group. Investigators were probing whether the company overpaid for rights to tap offshore oil fields in Angola during between 2006 and 2012, suggesting possible bribes and kickbacks.
Sam Pa and Sino Zimbabwe Development were named in Global Witness’2012 report, Financing a Parallel Government—The involvement of the secret police and military in Zimbabwe’s diamond, cotton and property sectors. The report exposed apparent off-budget financing from Sam Pa to Zimbabwe’s secret police, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). It also revealed the involvement of members of the CIO, widely implicated in widespread human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, in the group of companies known as Sino Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd.
Sino-Zim operated a diamond mine known as Kusena Diamonds in the Zimbabwe’s Chiadzwa area known for diamonds.
In May this year Kusena Diamonds board member Genius Madzingira (CIO) and Sino-Zim board member Pritchard Zhou and Kusena vice board chairperson Regiment Ruzende reportedly had a torrid time in the Zimbabwean Parliament explaining issues pertaining to their entering into business with Sam Pa.
The CIO officials also gave conflicting statements and cited their former boss Happyton Bonyongwe as the only person who used to deal with Sam Pa.
“You (CIO) seem to be holding on to information because there is an understanding that the security sector looted diamonds, but you are failing to give us the information. Please stop being discreet because you seem to be playing intelligence with us. You need to remove the CIO hats and put on the hats of your roles at the diamond concessions because there are assertions that you looted,” Mliswa warned.
This was after Zhou and Ruzende had claimed ignorance about the joint venture agreements between the CIO and Sam Pa. They also professed ignorance on reports that $10 million worth of equipment was donated to Kusena by their Chinese partners. The CIO owned 51% shares in Sino-Zim while Sam Pa’s China International Fund owned the remaining 49%.
Zhou and Ruzende claimed they did not know Sam Pa and that he only used to deal with Bonyongwe.
“Such issues were dealt with at the highest level of the organisation (CIO) and that question should be directed to the (former) Director General Bonyongwe because he was the one who decided on vetting. We are not aware of the donation of the equipment to Kusena and we did not know Sam Pa,” Zhou responded.
Madzingira differed: “The equipment was donated to the President’s Department and that was its equity contribution to Kusena. This was exploration equipment and could not go into hard rock and it definitely came from Sam Pa.”
Zhou said the Kusena Diamonds board never got to know the mining agreements as operations were taking place at shareholding level with Bonyongwe, who also had the explanation over issues of vetting Sam Pa.