Global Witness called for urgent action to prevent a businessman in China from financing Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe’s military regime. According to the group’s report published today, ”Financing a Parallel Government?,” Global Witness revealed that Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) received financing from a Hong Kong-based businessman at the same time that the CIO is alleged to be engaging in a campaign to discredit key members of Zimbabwe’s opposition.
According to Global Witness, CIO members jointly control Sino Zimbabwe Development (Pvt.) Ltd., a diamond, cotton and property development company in Zimbabwe. Their partner is businessman Sam Pa, a prominent member of the Queensway Syndicate, a network of companies with a track record of negotiating opaque resource for infrastructure deals across Africa.
The report also exposed how a Zimbabwean military lawyer owns half of Anjin Investments (Pvt.) Ltd., the biggest diamond company in Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields, on behalf of Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Defence.
Given the violent reputation of the CIO and military, we fear that this money could fund human rights abuses during the forthcoming election,” said Nick Donovan of Global Witness. “Off-budget financing of the security sector undermines Zimbabwean democracy by subverting civilian control over key organs of the state. The international community should investigate the activities of Sam Pa, Sino Zimbabwe Development and Anjin Investments to see whether their actions justify imposing targeted sanctions such as asset freezes.”
Information given to Global Witness by sources within the CIO suggested that Pa provided funding and materials to the organization in return for access to Zimbabwe’s diamond, cotton and property sectors. One CIO document confirmed financial support of $100 million along with 200 pickup trucks. Two sources also told Global Witness that the money has been allocated by the CIO towards ”Operation Spiderweb,” which are covert activities designed to discredit Mugabe’s opposition party head, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangarai, as well as his appointees, Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, although Global Witness cannot confirm the existence of these programs. ”We gave Mr. Pa an opportunity to comment on our findings but he has not responded,” Donovan said.
While Anjin Investments claims to be the world’s biggest diamond miner, Global Witness revealed earlier this year how the company’s executive board members include senior and retired military and police officers, and the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, Martin Rushwaya, who is a Mugabe party loyalist. But this week, Global Witness revealed that 50 percent of Anjin’s shares are owned by Brigadier General Charles Tarumbwa, the Judge Advocate General at the Ministry of Defence, acting through Matt Bronze (Pvt.) Ltd., a front for the Zimbabwean military.
“Since ZANU-PF lost control of the Ministry of Finance, they appear to have engaged on a hunt for off-budget financing for the military and secret police,” said Donovan. “Zimbabwe’s civilian government must exercise democratic control over the budgets of security forces. If not, there is a real danger of a shadow security state emerging, with both a monopoly on violence and secret sources of funding.”