A PARLIAMENTARY Select Committee on diamonds has presented its report to National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai, revealing gross irregularities in the supervision and regulation of the 100 billion US dollar business.
The minerals were valued at 367.3million US dollars, against 374.6million US dollars. Despite the value of the mineral, Tanzania is the only country in Africa trading diamond at a low price of around 300 US dollar per carat compared to Botswana that trades the same at an average of 1900 US dollars.
Select Committee Chairman, Mr Mussa Zungu, revealed further that the committee had also found the record regarding royalties between 2007 and 2016. The ministry’s report shows that about 18 million US dollars was paid against 15 million US dollar registered in the TMAA statement.
“There was no explanation from both parties regarding differences in the statements, although they are all government offices,” Mr Zungu said. Surprisingly, TRA records, however, indicated that between 2007 and 2016, diamonds weighing 942,099 tones was extracted, contrary to the 1.51 million tons reported by TMAA.
This means the government (TRA) did not account for about 198.743 million US dollars or 437.23bn/-, according to the report. The committee, however, accused Petra Diamonds Company Limited, which succeeded the Williamson Diamond Mining Company in Mwadui, Shinyanga, for forgery and hiking equipment costs, to deny the government its legitimate revenues.
Initially, the report said, Williamson Diamonds Limited did not pay the government the legitimate royalties for four consecutive years, yet officials from the ministry did not raise queries.
It was claimed that the mining company made its transactions through a private account Number 2010730046 in the NMB bank ‘under’ the commissioner of minerals in the Lake Zone, but all the transacted money was not accounted for by the ministry of energy and minerals.
“This resulted in the mysterious disappearance of over 100bn/- as the result of payments which did not comply with state procedures,” the report said. “Yet the investors continued to claim they don’t make profits and they were left to walk free … totally unfair,” the Chairman said.
On the transfer of shares/sale of the Williamson Diamond, the company said the government had not benefited and would not benefit, due to bad advice from its officials, including Engineer Edwin Ngonyani, the current Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication.
He said while the company was sold at 10 million US dollars, it had generated profits amounting to 42 million US dollars since it was sold in 2008.
The committee said the remaining mineral concentrates at the mining site have diamonds worth 80.8trn/-, yet the government has all been ‘fooled’ that the cargo was worthless.
Meanwhile, the committee has urged the government to hold all members of the board of directors accountable and an independent audit be commissioned to find out the value of equipment imported and used at the mining site.