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Govt urged to trace the missing US$15 billion

Government should urgently set up a Commission of enquiry to establish how the US$15 billion was lost through illicit financial flows and find ways to recover the same for the benefit of the Zimbabwean citizenry, Zimbabwe Coalition for Debt and Development  (Zimcodd) has said .

Zimcodd’s call comes after President Mugabe’s publicly admitted that $15 billion was looted from diamond revenue by mining companies since their discovery in Manicaland province in 2008.

“The US$15 billion diamond revenue leakage is evidence that the country is losing billions of potential resources for development through illicit financial flows (IFF). The discovery of diamonds in Marange brought hope to the nation,” said Zimcodd in a statement

Zimcodd, a Social and Economic Justice coalition, said  the revenue from diamond mining failed to bring the much anticipated development.

“Revenue from the diamond sector which was anticipated to restore macro-economic stability and general social and economic development for the nation as a whole failed to translate into the much expected development as budget deficits have become perennial, social spending dwindling, industrial sector productivity continue to decline and the country is saddled by a public debt of US$8.368 billion.

“It is worth noting that, Zimbabwe’s debt overhang of US$8.368 billion is below the publicized Marange$15 billion revenue loss,” said Zimcodd.

Zimcodd said  all those who are caught up in the $15 billion wrangle  should be held accountable.

“The government bodies and public officials who were responsible of overseeing the diamond mining in Marange should be made to account for the resources and explain to the citizens how $15 billion could have been lost under their watchful eye,” said Zimcodd.

Going forward, Zimcodd said , “there is need to reform and strenghthen the legal and institutional frameworks that govern public finance management and natural resources governance to enhance transparency and accountabilty to reduce revenue leakages from the formal mining system. This entails finalising on the Mines and Minerals Bill which is still pending, realigning the public finance Management Act among other relevant pieces of legislation.”

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