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Zimbabwe NGO Director Turns Himself Over to Police

Jun 6, 2010 8:19 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... Farai Maguwu, director of Zimbabwe’s Centre for Research and Development (CRD), turned himself into police on Thursday, following a raid on CRD's offices the previous week, The New York Times reported.

Maguwu was charged with providing false information to Kimberley Process (KP) monitor Abbey Chikane during his recent visit to Zimbabwe. Subsequent to their scheduled meeting, police raided CRD offices, confiscating Maguwu’s computer, work documents and car, and forcing him into hiding, while his brother was arrested.

The raid drew sharp criticism from civil society, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the World Diamond Council (WDC), each of which voiced doubt about whether Chikane could effectively carry out his mandate under such conditions.

“This is a message to civil society that there’s a price for fighting for your rights — no one is safe,” The New York Times quoted Maguwu’s lawyer, Tinoziva Bere, as saying.

The KP is scheduled to meet in Tel Aviv on June 21 for its intercessional meeting, where the current moratorium on diamonds mined at Zimbabwe’s Marange fields is expected to take center stage. In November, Zimbabwe agreed to a joint work plan to bring mining at Marange up to KP standards, under which exports would only be cleared by Chikane.

Zimbabwe’s adherence to these conditions, however, has been called into question, with documentation showing that at least 276,838 carats of diamonds from Marange were exported to Dubai by the state-owned Marange Resources in the first four months of the year. Sources in the KP told Rapaport News that some portions of these shipments have been detained by Dubai authorities, while others have entered the market.

In addition, Rapaport News has learned that approximately 600,000 carats of additional Marange stock is about to be exported to various destinations without certification.

Tags: Avi Krawitz, Abbey Chikane, Avi Krawitz, Dubai, Kimberley Process, Marange Fields, NGO, World Diamond Council, Zimbabwe
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