Zimbabwe whistle blower in court for illegal diamond possession

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Chief Newman Chiadzwa of Zimbabwe who was on the run as he claimed that soldiers where after him appeared in court Thursday for allegedly possessing 8kgs of diamonds. It is not clear when and where he was arrested.

The state is claiming that in October 2006, detectives from the Minerals Unit headquarters raided Chiadwa’s business premises after receiving information that he was exchanging diamonds with commodities in his shop.

They searched him and found 177 grams of diamonds in his clothes and
later found 8 433 grams of additional diamonds in his vehicle bringing the total value to 43 028.20 carats and weighing about 8 kilogrammes, Magistrate Billiard Musakwa was told.

During the time of his hiding, Zimbabwe police spokesperson Senior
Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said police were looking for Chiadzwa in relation to “some criminal charges” he was facing.

Chiadzwa fled his homestead saying senior Zanu PF members want him
dead for helping Kimberley Process team to uncover gross human rights
abuses in the diamond-rich area. The team has since recommended the suspension of Zimbabwe from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for “at least six months”.

Liberian deputy mines minister Kpandel Fiya, who led the KP investigation, said villagers recounted tales of “senseless violence” perpetrated by soldiers deployed to curb illegal mining activities last year.

Chiadzwa said “there are mass graves” in the diamond rich area after soldiers killed scores of people who had invaded the area in search of the precious mineral.

Reports say over 200 miners were killed last year and some were buried
in mass graves. But the government has denied both the killings and
the existence of the mass graves.

Several senior Zanu PF politicians, army and police officers have been
linked to syndicates looting the precious stones in the area.

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