The international community must act to prevent off budget financing of Mugabe’s feared secret police, said Global Witness in a report published today.
The report, Financing a Parallel Government?, reveals that Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) appears to have received off budget 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.
CIO members exercise joint control over Sino Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd, a diamonds, cotton and property 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 the African continent.
The report also exposes how a Zimbabwean military lawyer owns half of Anjin Investments (Pvt) Ltd, the biggest diamond company in Zimbabwe’s controversial 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 (Pvt) Ltd, and Anjin Investments (Pvt) Ltd to see whether their actions justify imposing targeted sanctions such as asset freezes.”
Information given to Global Witness by sources within the CIO suggests that Sam Pa provided funding and material to the organisation in return for access to Zimbabwe’s diamond, cotton and property sectors. One CIO document put this support at $100 million and 200 pick-up trucks. Two sources also told Global Witness that the money has been allocated by the CIO towards Operation Spiderweb, covert activities designed to discredit Prime Minister Tsvangarai, Finance Minister Biti, and Industry Minister Ncube, although Global Witness cannot confirm the existence of these programmes. We gave Mr Pa an opportunity to comment on our findings but he has not responded.
Anjin Investments claims to be the world’s biggest diamond miner. Previous research by Global Witness revealed how Anjin’s Executive Board members include senior serving and retired military and police officers, and the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence. In the report published today, Global Witness reveals that 50% 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.”