Harare, Zimbabwe (News of the South)-The Antwerp World Diamond Centre has refused accusations by Global Witness that it has been trading diamonds being sold by the sanctioned Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) under the guise of Anjin.



In a report released this year titled Inside Job, Global Witness alleged that ZDI is a shareholder in Anjin, a Chinese mining company which has been trading diamonds in Antwerp, with the money being funnelled to prop the regime of President Mugabe.



However AWDC has rubbished the claims as unsubstantiated.



“Global Witness makes these claims based on a statement by the Zimbabwean State Secretary for Mines, Gift Chimanikire (MDC), in the Zimbabwean parliament in December 2012. The statement was dispelled a month later, by the Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti (MDC)”.



“The company Anjin itself was never on the European sanctions list. The Antwerp World Diamond Centre, representing the Antwerp diamond industry, strongly denounces all the accusations made by Global Witness”, it said.



Ari Epstein, CEO AWDC: “When the European Union decided in September 2013, to lift the sanctions on Zimbabwe, AWDC took several initiatives before deciding whether or not the Zimbabwean goods could be traded on the Antwerp market.



According to Epstein some of these included the initiation of an investigation into the structures behind mining company Anjin and other mining companies active in Marange and Chimanimani.



The results of this investigation according to Epstein revealed there was no indication that the legal entity ZDI was co-owner of Anjin.



“Further to that AWDC allegedly also requested the Kimberley Process, the collaborating organisation between industry, governments and NGO’s, including Global Witness until 2011, whether or not diamonds, bought in Zimbabwe (Harare) were allowed to be imported under the existing KP conditions”



“The KPCS’s response to this request was positive”



“The AWDC explicitly asked the European Union whether Zimbabwean goods could be imported to Antwerp and paid for. The European Commision responded positive to this inquiry”, it said.



The Global Witness report alleged that ruling party members and security agents were behind most of the corporations doing the mining in Zimbabwe’s Manicaland area in charges that sought to explain the scarcity of benefit for locals through the diamonds.

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