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Missing diamond millions investigated

Feb. 14, 2011 at 7:47 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Zimbabwe's government says it will investigate the disappearance of $100 million in proceeds from an auction of diamonds.

The Ministry of Finance received a document from President Robert Mugabe's office passed to him from The Minerals Marketing Corp. of Zimbabwe saying it had given $170 million from the sale of Marange diamonds last year to the treasury.

The Zimbabwean newspaper The Standard reported Finance Minister Tendai Biti alleges the treasury only received $64 million from the corporation after the sale of the alluvial, or as they have been known because of the violence associated with them, "blood diamonds."

"We got a schedule from the office of the president written by MMCZ that claimed treasury had been directly and indirectly given $170 million from the sale of alluvial and kimberlite diamonds," Biti said.

"Treasury only received $64 million from the sale of alluvial and kimberlite diamonds. In that schedule MMCZ claims that treasury used part of the money to pay tax to Zimra.

"I have asked the accountant-general to launch an investigation into the matter disapproving MMCZ claims. The investigation will show that we did not get the money and my question is where did the money go?"

Permanent Secretary Thankful Musukutwa refused to comment, saying he was not aware of the matter.

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