This private Airbus, known as VP-BEX, was a monthly visitor to Zimbabwe, and is believed to have carried out millions of dollars in undeclared diamonds from the Marange mine.
This private Airbus, known as VP-BEX, was a monthly visitor to Zimbabwe, and is believed to have carried out millions of dollars in undeclared diamonds from the Marange mine.

By Khadija Sharife
Exclusive to 100Reporters

From time to time, a VIP-configured Airbus jetted into Lanseria International Airport, a small and privately-owned base facility near Johannesburg, South Africa. The plane, an Airbus 319CJ, also stopped at Zimbabwe’s Harare airport. It carried important people and was widely believed to ferry some precious—and illicit–cargo: Zimbabwe’s conflict diamonds.

The diamonds came from one of the largest diamond troves in history: Marange. Spanning 173,000 acres and priced at $800 billion in rough diamonds, Marange’s concentration of treasure is eight times higher than average, at more than 1,000 carats per hundred tons.

The plane, first identified in report by the British nonprofit organization Global Witness, has been used to move diamonds out of Zimbabwe. Money from their export has gone to cement the hold of President Robert Mugabe, and finance Zimbabwe’s notorious secret police—responsible for killing, raping and maiming hundreds of artisanal miners in an operation to clear out Marange in 2008.

An examination of purchasing documents, corporate records and interviews with relevant officials by 100Reporters has, for the first time, parted the curtain on the plane’s ownership to reveal links between the mysterious jet, Zimbabwe government officials, law firms and investors with holdings across the globe, from the UK to China, Angola to Bermuda to Wall Street.

Flight logs for the plane, registered as VP-BEX, disclose frequent trips to Singapore, Hong Kong, Tanzania and Angola, among others. The Airbus appears to enjoy a remarkable lack of scrutiny, seemingly flying in a perpetual no-oversight zone. In the South African airport that was the plane’s home base, unless cargo and goods were self-declared, the plane and its passengers were not normally subject to inspection by customs, police or civil aviation authorities.

Farai Maguwu, an award-winning human rights activist and Zimbabwe’s leading researcher of the diamond trade, said, “We don’t know where the plane goes, what the routes are, or even who is involved. But we know that VP-BEX A319 was identified as playing an important role in facilitating this secretive system that is causing Zimbabweans to lose diamond revenue.”

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The Wrong Horse

Until 2006, De Beers, one of the world’s leading diamond producers, held the rights to Marange. But common to diamond majors, De Beers appeared to lock down the concession rather than exploit it, possibly as a means of controlling supply. A British-registered company called African Consolidated Resources had acquired concessions from De Beers.

When the De Beers’ concessions expired in 2006, Mugabe’s ruling party, ZANU-PF, swooped in.  Zimbabwean government officials had tired of De Beers’s failure to exploit the mines, said one source, speaking on condition of anonymity. Another source cited De Beers’s failure to “marry” the Zimbabwean government into the company’s existing business models, as it had in Botswana and Namibia. There, the government formed public-private partnerships with the company. Meanwhile, Supa Mandiwanzira, a representative of Zimbabwe’s Diamond Consortium, threatened that Zimbabwe had “the potential to destroy the whole industry” by flooding the markets.

A 120-carat diamond from Zimbabwe. / PHOTO TENFORD CHITANANA

Africa Consolidated had acquired a smaller claim to mine diamonds in Marange. But its shareholders included a rival within ZANU vying to oust Mugabe – the now dead General Solomon Mujuru. “The company bet their money on the wrong political horse,” a high-level source told 100Reporters. General Mujuru died under suspect conditions, and Africa Consolidated’s rights were quickly terminated by the regime. Before long, Africa Consolidated found itself sidelined for ZANU-approved partners, primarily South African and Chinese companies, such as New Reclamation and the China International Fund (CIF).

Operation Hakudzokwi—or “You Will Not Return”—opened the way for Mugabe’s exploitation of the mine with a small group of select and largely secretive partners. One watchdog group, estimating that $2 billion in undeclared precious stones have left Zimbabwe, has called the takeover  “perhaps the biggest single plunder of diamonds since Cecil Rhodes.”

Hadkuzowki set new standards for brutality in forcing out thousands of itinerant miners who had flocked to Marange. When the BBC’s Panorama interviewed paramilitary forces and police involved in the assault three years later, soldiers were apparently wracked with guilt. They reported that people were killed, “like flies.”

“There was no way out,” said one soldier. Panorama’s interviews with soldiers revealed that the military laid a string on mines, stationed armored vehicles, mounted soldiers “and an infantry battalion in a circular pattern around the 2.5 kilometer area.”

The government justified Hakudzokwi as a necessary move to ensure the country’s minerals are used for national purposes. But according to Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti, millions of dollars in diamond revenues that should have been deposited in Zimbabwe’s national treasury are being secreted elsewhere.

“A Flying Hotel Room”

The most frequent passenger on the Airbus, identified by its tail code VP-BEX, has been Xu Jinghua, a Chinese businessman also known as Sam Pa, who visited Zimbabwe once a month and was believed to carry out diamonds, according to watchdog groups. Pa has been accused of providing $100 million and a fleet of Nissan pickup trucks to Zimbabwe’s feared secret police, according to Global Witness and other nonprofit organizations that monitor extractive industries. Pa has denied the accusations.

The Airbus, a corporate ultra-long jetliner, is smaller and lighter than its commercial counterpart. The private version of the 319CJ hosts an average of 18 or more seats, with luxury compartments. Writing on an aviation forum, one enthusiast who claimed to have entered a Planair 319CJ described the interior as “a flying hotel room.”  The plane has all the perks of a commercial jet in terms of speed, range, and reliability. The corporate version, hosting a small passenger base, is capable of flying 6,000 nautical miles non-stop.

But the plane has one added perk: while the VP-BEX – a VIP-configured jet – can carry cargo, there are no real systemic checks on the material it may be transporting through South Africa, as the plane did not generally declare any cargo and diamonds are small enough to escape scrutiny.

One pilot formerly operating from Lanseria alleged that security was often “slack” at the airport. “Passengers don’t need to carry their illicit goods with them,” he told 100Reporters. “If a company has, for example, leased a hangar, the plane can taxi down to the hangar, and the goods are left inside. An hour or two later, the goods can be picked up.” While customs officials randomly check the bags of international passengers arriving on commercial airliners, those flying in on private jets are seldom checked, the pilot said. “One plane in 30, and 99 percent of the time, it would be due to a tip-off,” said the pilot.

Gavin Sayce, Lanseria’s airport manager, did not respond to interview requests.

Until September 2012, the plane was registered in Bermuda to Planair, a shell company registered in Bermuda, which operated it on behalf of the China International Fund, a Hong Kong-based private company. In September, the plane was registered under Hong Kong Jet (Bermuda), which belongs to a Chinese Fortune 500 company, the HNA Group.

China International is often described as Zimbabwe’s largest investor at US$8 billion—though there is little evidence that the company has yet made good on its pledges of vast infrastructure development.

Godwills Masimirembwa, chairman of Zimbabwe’s Mining Development Corporation, has maintained that the army had every right to mine diamonds. “There should not be boundaries. If the army uses its stake to finance its activities, then that’s good and we will remain with the peace that we are enjoying in this country,” he said during a meeting at the Mutare Press Club this month.

Masimirembwa denied misuse of funds from looted diamonds or diamond revenue, and cited U.S. Army involvement in “economic and industrial activities” as best practice. He challenged Biti to prove that diamond companies were not remitting revenue to the government.

Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamond Jet

The plane was purchased new in mid-June 2006 by Angola’s Sonangol State Corporation, a secretive entity with a long history of off-books sales of petroleum, according to the International Monetary Fund and other sources. A December 2011 IMF report, for example, cited $32 billion discrepancy in revenue from Angola’s public accounts between 2007 and 2010, largely connected to the quasi-fiscal activities of Sonangol.

Sonangol is interlocked with the China International Fund through multiple known and unknown subsidiaries. In Zimbabwe, China International’s diamond-related legal forms include the Hong Kong-incorporated Sino-Zim Diamonds Ltd., headed by nominee lawyer Jimmy Zerenie and Eliezer Nefussy, reportedly the longtime right-hand man to diamond magnate Lev Leviev in Namibia. Leviev significantly broke the global De Beers stronghold, beginning with Russia, before entering Angola’s diamond industry.

Leviev’s brother, Moshe, was named by Global Witness as a director of LLD Asia, a tentacle of Sino-Zim’s complex multi-corporate structure, primarily registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). LLD Asia, advertises itself as one of the largest dealers of Angolan, Namibian, Russian and other diamonds, selling to buyers in the United States, Italy, Belgium and Hong Kong. Masimba Kamba, an individual connected to Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organization, the secret police, is also connected to Sino-Zim, as a director, and to a related company in the British Virgin Islands (Strong Achieve Holdings).

Also involved in China International Fund are Lo Fung Hung, Sam Pa and Alain Fanaie, who doubles as the  Chief Executive Officer of China Sonangol. Following a U.S.-China Economic & Security Review Commission (USCC) report, the Hong Kong-based China International Fund, based at  27/F Two Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong, would become known as the 88 Queensway Group, due to its physical address.

The USCC report identified Leviev, a real estate billionaire and major diamond supplier in New York, Dubai, London, Singapore and Cannes, as a key figure in China International Fund.

Much like Hong Kong, Singapore and the British Virgin Islands are also secrecy jurisdictions, peddling sovereign-protected spaces of legal and financial opacity to international companies seeking to hide assets or conceal the identities of their beneficial owners.

“It all sounds depressingly familiar,” said Ronen Palan, a professor at the University of Birmingham and author of Tax Havens: How Globalization Really Works. “Why are complex overlapping corporate structures used? I cannot see any reasons for such complexity besides concealing financial activities, lowering taxation, and creating distance from ownership in case the airplane is used for illegal business. There are clearly no societal advantages to such structures,” he said.

The controlling face of the 88 Queensway empire is Lo Fung, while Pa has been identified as more of a behind-the-scenes operator.

In 2007, Pa, formerly a military comrade of Angola’s lifetime dictator, José Eduardo dos Santos, valued his Angolan business deals at $30 billion. Global Witness has described him as a monthly visitor on board VP-BEX to Harare. According to a Zimbabwean source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Pa is perceived as one the Central Intelligence Organization’s most important allies.

The 88 Queensway group has used some of its wealth to make its mark in New York real estate. It bought the JP Morgan Chase building at 23 Wall Street for $150 million, paid $150 million for a 49.9 percent stake in the Madison Avenue Clock Tower, and another $50 million (along with the assumption of half the building’s $720 million in debt) for a 49 percent stake in the former New York Times building at 229 West 43rd Street, according to the USCC report.

Neither the China International Fund, China Sonangol nor Sonangal responded to repeated requests for comment. LLD Asia could not be reached for comment.

[Since publishing this report, 100Reporters has received comments from China Sonangol disputing the corporate relationships described here and denying any business in mining Zimbabwean diamonds. “China Sonangol has not purchased a single carat of diamond from Zimbabwe,” J.K. Wee, the firm’s general counsel, wrote. The firm’s full response is reprinted following the story.]

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Planair.

In 2007, a year after mining started at Marange, the plane was allegedly delivered to another Bermuda-registered company: Planair Enterprises, a shell company incorporated on 17 July 2001.

Planair appeared to operate as the Lanseria-based aviation arm of China Sonangol, while Aero Management Services (AMS) handled the plane’s maintenance at Lanseria. According to a high level corporate source at the airport, little was known about Planair, save that it had a fleet of planes that was not South African-owned – abnormal for Lanseria-based owners and operators. The plane’s pilot is a celebrated former South African Airways (SAA) pilot, Flippie Vermeulen, from Springbok Safari. Vermeulen did not respond to interview requests.

Pilots, speaking candidly on aviation forums, call Planair “the ghost company.” Though Planair has ostensibly operated at Lanseria since 2006, the airport’s security division’s register did not identify Planair as an operating company on its register. It did acknowledged that Aero Management Services (AMS) was registered and active at the airport, and provided a contact number.

The AMS hangar at Lanseria.

AMS’s receptionist said that Planair and Aero Management functioned as a single company. An official at the company’s technical department told 100Reporters that AMS operated more than one Airbus aircraft, and that VP-BEX was operated on behalf of a big Chinese company. He stated that only VIPs traveled aboard, and to his knowledge, there was no cargo. One security official at Lanseria, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told 100Reporters that such planes are rarely checked, unless there are specific alleged security concerns related to criminal activity.

Gap in Oversight

Despite the jet’s suspected role in moving undocumented diamonds from Zimbabwe, Lanseria airport security were officially not aware that the plane identified by Global Witness was headquartered, or even using, the airport. 100Reporters was informed that aside from the usual inspections of airport security and non-cargo VIP-configured jets, there would have been no specific oversight throughout the duration of Planair’s, or the VP-Bex’s, use of the AMS-leased hangar.

A senior security official referred 100Reporters to the South African Revenue Services, ordinarily responsible for collecting customs duties. Adrian Lackay, spokesman for the Revenue Services, did not disclose whether or not the company and plane were known to the Revenue Services. He said the agency had no role in monitoring planes, and wrote in an email that “the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is responsible for registering aircraft and monitoring flights into and from this country,” as is the South African Police Service.

A spokeswoman at the Civil Aviation Authority, however, said monitoring the plane was not her agency’s role. “Our mandate relates to aviation safety and security only, and for this reason we cannot comment on alleged criminal activity at airports,” said Marie Bray, the spokeswoman. “The CAA’s mandate on aviation security is limited to certain functions and powers.” She referred 100Reporters to the South African Police and back to the customs service. Bray would not say whether or not the Civil Aviation Authority had knowledge of the plane or the company.

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British Gown, Bermuda Veil

Much like British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and others, Bermuda is a secrecy jurisdiction connected to the UK’s City of London, a leading tax haven, via its status as dependencies. These UK territories have been described by the UK-based Tax Justice Network as “satellite” havens that form part of the City of London’s business model, “giving it unrivalled market power in the field of financial services” for companies, specifically those seeking secrecy. (Full disclosure: This reporter has authored a report for the Tax Justice Network, Tax Us if You Can: Africa.)

The use of a jurisdiction like Bermuda, which specializes in aviation services, to register the company and the plane prevents home and host countries from penetrating beneficial directors and shareholders. This renders law enforcement investigations almost impossible, unless insiders bring forward specific evidence.

In Bermuda, Planair was served by Apex Law Group, a Bermuda-based law firm with expertise in “international business,” according to its website. The firm’s head is Lynda Milligan-Whyte, a former senator of Bermuda. Milligan-Whyte also serves as director of the Bermuda Monetary Authority, regulating financial services in Bermuda. Her private firm notes that aviation services, provided by the Bermuda Department of Civil Aviation, “is considered to be a business sensitive regulatory body that is prepared to be responsive to customers and flexible in its approach.”

Law firms that serve as nominee directors have little interest, and often, little active role, in the companies they front. Their specific purpose is to provide the illusion of a corporation with genuine economic activity in a jurisdiction.

Milligan-Whyte did not respond to repeated interview requests from 100 Reporters.

Bermuda does not only supply clients with sovereign-backed financial and legal secrecy, it also provides a tax-free environment to finance and manage corporate aircraft. Just under half of all Bermudan-registered planes are corporate and private jets.

According to the law firm Conyers, Dill and Pearman, which specializes in multi-jurisdictional legal services, financial perks of Bermudan companies includes an absence of taxes on capital transfers, income and profits.

This tax-free holiday extends to “a government guarantee available in relation to the tax regime” applicable to companies via the Minister of Finance of Bermuda under the Exempted Undertakings Tax Protection Act 1966. Put simply, no exempted company can be taxed even in the event of changes to the tax regime by the Bermudan government.

Unlike most countries, Bermuda does not require that aircraft registered in the Bermuda be based in, or operate from, there.

Yet this global reach, armed with secrecy, effectively prevents other authorities from having access to the nature, financial activities, and even beneficial owners of planes operating in their own jurisdictions.

Ebony Dictators, Ivory Banksters

John Christensen, founder of the Tax Justice Network and a former senior advisor to Jersey, a British tax haven, said the details on the mysterious plane’s ownership make for “depressing reading.”

“Once again we find an offshore company registered in the British secrecy jurisdiction of Bermuda being used to disguise the identity of the people behind the crimes,” Christensen said. “Presumably the offshore nominee directors involved in this racket will deny knowledge of any illicit activities,” he told 100Reporters.

Planair’s nominee director, Milligan-Whyte, is also a SonAir nominee director. SonAir, a subsidiary of Sonangol, includes directors such as Manuel Vicente, President Dos Santos’s right hand man in Angola, and a crucial part of the China Sonangol system. The company Flight Pro Consulting identifies both Planair and Sonair as the same company in its list of clients.

MeesPierson, a Netherlands-based company, also holds several spots on Planair’s board of directors (including Andre Wilwert and Eric Mangrini). According to a Global Witness report, the company acted as financier for one of Africa’s most notorious scandals, known as Angolagate, an oil-for-arms deal facilitated by dos Santos and Pierre Falcone, an alleged arms dealer and head of Pierson Capital, a firm specializing in commodity-backed loans, among other areas.
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Meanwhile, Falcone has been a key figure for the 88 Queensway Group that hosts China Sonangol, and has strong ties to the Dos Santos regime.

“Secrecy services, such as nominee directors and other methods of creating anonymous companies, are one of the ways in which countries who permit their use facilitate criminal activity around the world,” said Heather Lowe, Legal Counsel for the Washington-based Global Financial Integrity.

“The negative impact is greater when the ‘world powers’ offer these secrecy services, because the average person would never think that a U.S., Canadian, or French company, for example, would be anonymous and therefore difficult to hold accountable for their actions or use. Companies created in OECD-type countries enjoy a patina of legitimacy that they do not necessarily deserve,” she stated.

In fact, the non-profit Tax Justice Networks rankings of top secrecy jurisdictions around the world includes Switzerland, the United States, the United Kingdom and a raft of British-administered havens from Jersey to the Cayman Islands.

Secret Central Intelligence Organization documents obtained by Global Witness suggest that VP-BEX’s role is to jet diamonds from one base to the next, often failing to record its complete itinerary.

An official from another company, formerly operating from Lanseria, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told 100Reporters that by underestimating a plane’s cruising speed, scheduled flight plans can be maintained. The most frequent stops declared for the VP-BEX include Angola, Singapore, South Africa, Zimbabwe, China, Russia and Tanzania.

On Oct. 10, 2012, for instance, VP-BEX filed a flight plan scheduling the plane to depart from Harare International Airport(FVHA/HRE) at 10 am Central Africa Time, heading for Singapore Changi (WSSS/SIN), with an estimated arrival 18.5 hours later, at 10.24 AM local time. But on the same day, according to a South African private security specialist, the plane made a stop in Luanda, Angola, though no mention of such was detailed in the flight logs.

“The best way to crack down on blood diamond trafficking from Zimbabwe may well be to tackle the offshore secrecy behind which the traffickers can hide with relative impunity,” said Christensen.

The view from the balcony of Lanseria’s Wiesenhof restaurant looks straight out onto the AMS hangar. Like Zimbabwe’s diamonds, the evidence of illicit looting is alluvial, on the surface, waiting to be picked up. But wait too long and exposed parties regroup, slipping back into the shadows of complex corporate webs and secrecy jurisdictions.

This coincidentally occurred as 100 Reporters began its investigation into VP-BEX. During the last months of 2012,VP-BEX’s registration was transferred to Hong Kong Jet (HKJ) – an airline management company specializing in private jets. On November 13, a company press release announced the acquisition of a 4th luxury Airbus, without providing any identifying details, such as the plane’s registration number. The plane was documented as scheduled for delivery to HKJ in December 2012.

A ‘Certificate of Aircraft Registration’ names HKJ’s Bermuda subsidiary as the registered charter carrier of VP-BEX.

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HKJ’s registered Bermuda address is a nominee law firm called Appleby. The same company acquired another key VIP plane from China International Fund – VP-BED, owned by China Sonangol but operated by Planair.

Both China Sonangol and HKJ (a subsidiary of the vast Chinese airline and property corporation, HNA) are major clients of Airbus private jets, according to a press release from Airbus’s parent company, the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. in Toulouse, France. According to the Financial Times, “despite HNA’s increasingly high profile, the company remains something of a mystery, with a convoluted corporate structure.”

The HNA Group, a Fortune 500 company, is valued at $13 billion.

No mortgage or other financing instruments, or outstanding charges surfaced in public records associated with the transfer. A high-level source in the Bermudan government Aviation Department said that the planes were merely re-registered to HKJ Bermuda.

Amy Wang, a spokeswoman for HKJ, declined to answer questions, saying only that HKJ would protect the privacy of its clients.

Moving Money

In the last year, China Sonangol is alleged to have purchased two Airbus A319s directly from the manufacturer on behalf of Air Zimbabwe, delivering the planes to hangars in Harare airport – where they remain relatively unused. As with many other China International Fund-related planes, such aircraft are either sold, relatively dormant, or leased out.

China International Fund is estimated to have invested between $500 million to $1 billion in a variety of customized luxury planes, according to sources in the aviation industry and price lists from plane manufacturers such as Airbus.

Why the interest in luxury aircraft?

Elsewhere, aircraft purchases have been used to turn billions of dollars in illicit money into licit assets – a simple case of laundering profits. Mexican drug cartels, for example, have effectively transferred over $420 billion in drug proceeds through banks like Wachovia, via shell companies based in secrecy jurisdictions such as Luxembourg and the Seychelles. Along the way, they purchased planes too.

The use of countries like Bermuda can not only conceal such deals, but also eliminate the former history and purpose of these companies. Bermuda’s no-tax location ensures that the planes will generate maximum profit, too.

“This could be the sound of how justice dies,” said Maguwu to 100 Reporters. “No wimper, no bang. Just the sound of a business filing cabinet being closed.”

Khadija Sharife is a member of 100Reporters, based in South Africa.

Editor’s Note: The above article has been updated to correct the ownership of Sonair; the frequency of the Airbus’s stops at Lanseria; the number of documented casualties in Operation Hakudzowki; and Global Witness’s position that Sam Pa supplied money and vehicles, not weapons, to Zimbabwe’s secret police. It also clarifies the claim that Planair appeared to operate as an arm of China Sonangol. The article further updates with a published denial of Sam Pa that, while not made to the reporter directly, was publicly available and so should have been quoted in the original article.

Khadija Sharife
Khadija Sharife is the lead Africa forensics researcher for Investigative Dashboard (ID) and a senior investigator for African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR). She is the author of Tax Us If You Can: Africa.
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61 COMMENTS

  1. I was sitting at Batam airport today waiting for a flight and thought I’d google the rego of the fancy looking plane on the apron. VP-BEX…

    A little more googling revealed that In the last 5 days its been to Dar es Salaam and back from Singapore.

    Looks like its still very active between Asia and South Africa…

  2. Very good and clear report. The plunder of Africa always has in-house backers or “warrant chiefs” ready to collaborate and feed fat on the crumbs that fall from the tables. West or East, White, red or black, the colour of looting is that of the blood of the bleeding earth and her children. We need more reports of this sort. No one, and no company, should see Africa as a lawless continent where acts of brigandage and impunity can be carried out at will, even if host politicians make that offer! I hope to read a sequel to this report – one focussing on the environmental impacts that accompany operations of this nature. If, as one commentator claims, there are attachments to this report that aren’t correct it will be excellent if they could let the world have a view of the “genuine” ones. We have a right to know. Africa must be free!

  3. Very good and clear report. The plunder of Africa always has in-house backers or “warrant chiefs” ready to collaborate and feed fat on the crumbs that fall from the tables. West or East, White, red or black, the colour of looting is that of the blood of the bleeding earth and her children. We need more reports of this sort. No one, and no company, should see Africa as a lawless continent where acts of brigandage and impunity can be carried out at will, even if host politicians make that offer! I hope to read a sequel to this report – one focussing on the environmental impacts that accompany operations of this nature. If, as one commentator claims, there are attachments to this report that aren’t correct it will be excellent if they could let the world have a view of the “genuine” ones. We have a right to know. Africa must be free!

  4. Seemingly fantastic but it would hardly surprise if the account provided here

    were correct, given what we already know about atrocities committed in the name of globalization.

    Kudos to the journalist for making a visibly great effort to shed light on what must be a tightly-guarded and highly secret matter.

  5. Seemingly fantastic but it would hardly surprise if the account provided here

    were correct, given what we already know about atrocities committed in the name of globalization.

    Kudos to the journalist for making a visibly great effort to shed light on what must be a tightly-guarded and highly secret matter.

  6. This is an excellent piece of investigative journalism – would that we had more writers of Sharife’s caliber. Sharife’s coverage of the tax haven aspect of this situation is crucial – the system allows for what amounts to the wholesale theft of Africa’s resources by multinational corporations. I’m always shocked when I encounter popular media representations of Africa’s poverty as due solely to local political corruption. A recent report by Global Financial Integrity shows that local corruption accounts for a mere 3% of total illicit capital loss in Africa, while transfer pricing accounts for more than 60%. The wealth extracted from developing countries by MNCs through tax evasion amounts to ten times that which trickles the other direction in the form of aid.

  7. This is an excellent piece of investigative journalism – would that we had more writers of Sharife’s caliber. Sharife’s coverage of the tax haven aspect of this situation is crucial – the system allows for what amounts to the wholesale theft of Africa’s resources by multinational corporations. I’m always shocked when I encounter popular media representations of Africa’s poverty as due solely to local political corruption. A recent report by Global Financial Integrity shows that local corruption accounts for a mere 3% of total illicit capital loss in Africa, while transfer pricing accounts for more than 60%. The wealth extracted from developing countries by MNCs through tax evasion amounts to ten times that which trickles the other direction in the form of aid.

  8. Why Miss K.Sharife never phoned or emailed Sonangol ? The company has a public contact access and special dpt for Publication and journalists ; she would have received all the documents and proofs that her source is wrong and documents might be false,fake,forged ..those are criminals ! 100rporters and M.K.sharife should face the criminal court of law for such abusive use and publication ; 100reporters should close down if find guilty by law

  9. Dear Sonangol ; I deeply Advise You to start a Legal action against 100reporters and the Journalist Khadija Sharife who did nothing else than publicly Defame your company ; I am operating in Angola I can testify that the article is not less that Illusion ; it doesn’t reflect any truth at all ! It is not a journalistic work ..but a Fiction Movie script for the tv show !!!!

  10. Most of the “facts” are carried on imagination. Is the author a manuscript writer for Walt Disney fairytails? It seems to me like part two of “Ali baba and 40 thieves”.

    • Why is a Chinese conglomerate responding in the comments section of an article like this and trying to muddy what is perfectly clear for all to see? This is the wholesale theft of Africa’s resources. It is neo-colonialism of the highest magnitude. Countries such as China with vast wealth and resources are using the global shadow economy that has been created by the US, UK, Switzerland, etc. to now join the global looting. There should be an independent investigation into the activities of China Sonangol. Even the IMF has identified this corporation as involved in stealing $32 billion of resources from Angola in a three year period. The only fictions in this story are democracy and transparency.

    • Message from moderator: The six comments from G-B-O, Eric White, Leo Roma and Mugabe4Ever all originated from three related IP addresses, two in the same city and a third which is kept for private individual use. 100Reporters believes these comments are likely by a single person posing as four different users.

  11. Most of the “facts” are carried on imagination. Is the author a manuscript writer for Walt Disney fairytails? It seems to me like part two of “Ali baba and 40 thieves”.

    • Why is a Chinese conglomerate responding in the comments section of an article like this and trying to muddy what is perfectly clear for all to see? This is the wholesale theft of Africa’s resources. It is neo-colonialism of the highest magnitude. Countries such as China with vast wealth and resources are using the global shadow economy that has been created by the US, UK, Switzerland, etc. to now join the global looting. There should be an independent investigation into the activities of China Sonangol. Even the IMF has identified this corporation as involved in stealing $32 billion of resources from Angola in a three year period. The only fictions in this story are democracy and transparency.

    • Message from moderator: The six comments from G-B-O, Eric White, Leo Roma and Mugabe4Ever all originated from three related IP addresses, two in the same city and a third which is kept for private individual use. 100Reporters believes these comments are likely by a single person posing as four different users.

  12. To 100r;

    We, at China Sonangol are totally shocked and dismayed with
    the insinuations and inaccuracies in your article. Neither our Management, Head
    of Communications or Legal department have been approached for any comment
    prior to your publication. You should make your stand clear by giving the
    details of your attempts to contact us. More seriously, we regret that
    your article is so replete with inaccuracies and unsupported insinuations
    that it cannot be credible by any measure but at the same time,
    was designed to and has caused us reputational harm. The freedom you
    have to publish matters of public concern must be tempered with responsible
    and accurate reporting. We also find your lack of attempt in understanding
    corporate structures, tax and the air services industry alarming, and no
    doubt contributing to your flawed conclusions. In this regard, we note
    with interest that other readers, such as Rob, have also picked up
    on other gaps in your article.
    We wish to state categorically that you are:

    ·
    WRONG about the ownership and relationships between several of the
    companies stated in your report. You have alleged corporate relationships between totally
    separate companies;

    ·
    WRONG about the information you are providing about Airbus VP-BEX, in
    particular its landing patterns, its cargo and matters pertaining to its
    registration amongst other;

    ·
    WRONG about the diamonds-China Sonangol has not purchased a single carat
    of diamond from Zimbabwe and we challenge you or anyone else to prove
    otherwise;

    ·
    WRONG about our transactions in New York.
    So as to give your readers a balanced view, we are left with no option but
    to point out the details of the factual inconsistencies, errors and
    inaccuracies evident in your flawed report.

    1.
    You state repeatedly that it is believed that our Airbus VP-BEX was used
    for smuggling out illicit diamonds from the Marange mine but have not
    offered as proof any evidence of that belief. Simply quoting other people who
    believe erroneously in such matters does NOT constitute proof. Global
    Witness’ report, on which you place great reliance, clearly only alleges
    the presence of the aircraft at Harare, but not the frequency. Your
    article however firmly alleges that the frequency is once a month. Your article
    did not name a single source of direct information that the aircraft
    visited Lanseria airport every month and we have evidence to prove that
    this is not the case (the schedule of flights is given below).

    2.
    If you have not interviewed directly, and indeed you did not state so, the
    source of Global Witness’ sources of information, then any information you
    would have received is 2nd hand information. The experience of judicial
    authorities around the world holds such evidence as unreliable and is
    usually referred to as “hearsay” and rejected as evidence of any fact by the courts.

    3.
    You referred to “Secret Central Intelligence Organisation documents”
    obtained by Global Witness (whom you probably did not have sight of) as
    evidence of Airbus VP-BEX’s role in ferrying diamonds out of Zimbabwe. If
    these documents exists, we reject their authenticity for the following

    reasons:-

    ·
    the contents are untrue;

    ·
    more importantly, a professional intelligence organization is
    unlikely to allow any operational document to fall into hostile hands. One
    has therefore to ask, how anyone could get his or her hands on
    the document and how likely it was for someone to give such a document to
    Global Witness and risk dismissal from his position within the
    organization ?

    ·
    we are not aware of, nor has Global Witness published any steps it
    had taken to verify the authenticity of the documents. In such matters,
    can one simply assume that the documents were not falsely ‘manufactured’
    and leaked to Global Witness for political or business purposes?

    ·
    Alternatively, if anyone had obtained it by some form of payment, one has
    to question if the document was created specifically for monetary reward.
    Such documents

    should never be regarded as reliable.

    4.
    For the record, it is indeed true that China Sonangol is involved in the
    diamond business. All of our diamonds however come from our jointly held
    Catoca mines in Angola (this is public information) and none are from
    Zimbabwe. Indeed, we challenge you or anyone else to prove that we have
    taken a single carat of diamond from Zimbabwe in any forum, be it publicly
    or in any court of law. In any case all of our operations are properly documented
    in accordance with the Kimberly Process. As some of your readers may know,
    unprocessed diamonds cannot be sold unless accompanied certification under
    the Kimberly Process.

    5.
    It is not uncommon for private jets to vary from its scheduled flight
    plan. This flexibility is indeed one of the main attractions of private
    jets and nothing sinister should be inferred from that. You have claimed
    that VP-BEX made an unscheduled stop in Luanda on October 10th, 2012 en
    route to Singapore by virtue of an unnamed South African
    security specialist. We have checked the aircraft log of VP-BEX and
    contrary to your report, the stop in Luanda was indeed logged in. The
    critical difference is that the aircraft was indeed ALREADY in Luanda from
    8th October 2012 and flew on 10th October 2012 to Harare and not Singapore
    as you have alleged. So again, the information you are providing in your
    report is inaccurate and misleading.

    6.
    The truth of the matter is that VP-BEX used to fly into Lanseria Airport
    but not on a monthly basis as you allege but rather infrequently. But even
    if it did,there is a totally logical explanation. Aero Management Services
    (AMS) as you have conceded in your article, had a servicing contract with
    us and its facilities are located at Lanseria Airport. In the months of
    January, February, and most of March, VP-BEX did not fly into Lanseria and
    so again, your assertions that VP-BEX would be in Lanseria once a month or more
    is inaccurate and misleading. In late March 2012, it flew into Lanseria
    Airport and was kept in storage, as the aircraft was beginning its
    maintenance cycle. Thereafter, the aircraft came in and out of storage
    intermittently at Lanseria until mid-April 2012 where it then remained in
    storage from 12th April 2012 through the whole of May 2012 until June
    2012. Thereafter, it made NO FURTHER flights to date into Lanseria.
    A logical reason exists for this, and this is that the servicing contract
    with

    AMS was terminated in mid-October 2012. Thus, a totally logical and legitimate

    reason exists for the aircraft to be at Lanseria Airport. It might not be as
    exciting as your article had put it, but this is the truth. It was
    certainly not at Lanseria Airport, as your article had insinuated, for
    the purpose of funneling Zimbabwean conflict diamonds through South
    Africa.

    7.
    The fact that servicing occurred at Lanseria airport would also explain
    why the plane did not necessarily declare any cargo when landing as it
    would usually do so without passengers, save for the crew.

    8.
    Planair is NOT the aviation arm nor related at all to China Sonangol, nor
    is it related to China
    International Fund,. More alarmingly, you have wrongly reported Hong Kong Jet
    as a subsidiary of Planair and that Planair had re-registered the plane
    under Hong

    Kong Jet. Planair and Hong Kong Jet are rivals in the same aviation space
    and do not have common owners so one cannot claim that there is a parent
    company-subsidiary relationship between them.. Both of these companies
    have nothing to do with China Sonangol but were successive operators when
    our aircraft operations were transferred from one operator (Planair) to
    the other (Hong Kong Jet). The decision to transfer the aircraft were purely
    cost and commercial considerations . We would like to state unequivocally
    that the change of operators was a matter which had been set in motion 6
    months before the actual switch and was not in any way influenced by your
    investigations,which we were ignorant of until your publication a few days ago.
    Any expert in this field will tell you that this is something which cannot
    be done overnight

    due to heavy operational and administrative issues.

    9.
    On a related point, you have stated that Planair re-registered the plane
    under Hong Kong Jet. This is patently inaccurate for the reasons already
    stated: Planair has no link whatsoever with Hong Kong Jet. The aircraft
    was re-registered under Hong Kong Jet when the operator’s contract with
    Planair was terminated and a new aircraft operation agreement was
    entered into with Hong Kong Jet. As a matter of

    standard practice, a transition is effected between the previous and new

    operator for the transfer and re-registration of the aircraft under the new

    operator’s name. Furthermore, you have stated that the re-registration of the

    aircraft under Hong Kong Jet occurred in September 2012. This is factually
    incorrect as it occurred in mid-October 2012.

    10.
    You have also wrongly alleged that AMS is “another China Sonangol “ entity. We

    can state categorically that this is untrue and that we have no shares nor

    beneficial interest in Aero Management Services.

    11.
    You have also wrongly stated that SonAir is a subsidiary of China Sonangol.
    Again you are implying that China Sonangol owns shares or is in some way
    in control of SonAir. This is legally and factually totally inaccurate and
    misleading. We

    note that in your attempt to find out if South African authorities
    had oversight of VP-BEX’s stay at Lanseria, you were directed to seek
    the assistance of the Customs service and the Police. Yet you mention
    nothing of the outcome of any further discussions with Customs or the
    South African Police. We put it to you that no laws had been broken and
    that the matter could not be taken further as you only offered the Police
    and customs service what you are offering your readers: accusations
    unsubstantiated by proof.

    12.
    You suggest that the VP-BEX was registered in Bermuda due to the
    jurisdiction’s opacity and for tax evasion purposes. This is not true. We
    can be candid and say that we had a choice between Hong Kong and Bermuda. Hong
    Kong was an option as it was Hong Kong Jet’s home base. Bermuda however
    won at the end of the day because the aircraft registration and
    certification processes could be completed in a few days only, whereas it
    would have taken months to do so if it was Hong Kong. There was some
    urgency in having the plane registered as we were transiting from one
    operator (Planair) to another (Hong Kong Jet) at the time. As for tax
    evasion, please note that as the aircraft is not chartered or leased, it
    generates no revenue

    or profit on which taxes could be levied. Your argument is therefore beside the

    point and merely inflammatory.

    13.
    Other factual errors and omissions include:-

    · Alleging that the plane in question was purchased in mid-June
    2006. This is inaccurate. The sale and purchase occurred in July 2005 and
    was purchased by China Sonangol International Holdings Limited, and not by
    Sonangol. The aircraft is also not in any way ‘mysterious’ as you
    have suggested;

    ·
    Alleging that Mr. Lev Leviev as a key figure in China International Fund,.
    Mr. Leviev has his own business empire (The Leviev Group) including
    substantial shareholdings and leadership roles in listed entities and does
    not hold any mandate to represent any of our related businesses, nor does
    he hold any position or is employed within China Sonangol or China
    International Fund ;

    ·
    Stating that Mr.Pierre Falcone is a key figure within the China Sonangol /
    China International Fund. Mr. Falcone is not employed nor does he hold any
    position within the group.

    ·
    Stating incorrectly that China Sonangol purchased 2 Airbus A319s last year
    and that the 2 planes were sitting in Harare airport. No A319s were
    purchased or delivered to us last year or indeed the last 5 years, and certainly not on behalf of Air Zimbabwe. Neither is it true that any of our A319s are positioned in
    Zimbabwe.

    ·
    Stating that we have a Hong Kong incorporated company called Sino-Zim
    Diamonds Ltd. No company by that name was incorporated by us in Hong Kong.

    ·
    The reference to New York property deals contained incorrect information.
    The transaction for 49% Madison Avenue Clock Tower and 49% stake in New
    York Times Building were never entered into although the possibility was
    explored. This is pure fantasy. As journalists, it is incumbent upon you to check carefully all sources of information independently, otherwise, as is the case here,
    you will extract incorrect information from an incorrect report. What is
    worse in this case is that you have elected to use information that is
    dated over 5 years ago without updating the information. We therefore have serious questions as to your real intentions by the publication of this article.
    We also take objection your selective choice of words designed to
    influence and indeed overpower casual readers of your article to your
    point of view, instead of allowing them to judge matters based
    on objective facts.
    Using terms like “secrecy jurisdiction” to describe where some of our
    entities are registered, such as the British Virgin Islands is not helpful
    nor meaningful as there is obviously a measured difference in opinion as
    to whether a jurisdiction provides privacy versus secrecy. In your
    article, you mention that Hong Kong, Singapore and British Virgin Islands
    are secrecy jurisdictions peddling protected spaces of legal and financial
    opacity. Nothing could be further from the truth. In both Hong Kong and
    Singapore, company shareholders and officers can be named via public
    corporate registers with information purchasable with a credit card. In
    the BVI, a famed privacy jurisdiction, the ability to obscure ownership
    by way of bearer shares was removed by legislation in recent years . Many
    companies however operate there legitimately for tax reasons and no matter
    what one’s opinion on the matter is, there is nothing legally wrong with
    managing tax exposure by incorporating in the BVI.

    We also thought it was ingenious, by the selective imagery of opulence
    with the aircraft and referring to the aircraft as “Zimbabwe’s Blood
    Diamond Jet” or “mysterious jet” you sought to elicit emotions of envy and
    suspicion that wealth of this nature cannot be gained except through
    illicit exploitation of innocents. There is also absolutely nothing
    mysterious about the aircraft. VP-BEX is properly registered in accordance with
    all international aviation regulations. Furthermore, we find that using such
    terms as “A flying Hotel Room” “luxury compartments” draws attention away
    from the fact that the aircraft is about 8 years old. Indeed, if luxury
    was our primary

    concern, we would have changed the aircraft sometime ago. The truth is that
    VP-BEX is, and has always been, a fully functional normal corporate jet. Furthermore, suggesting that company registrations in offshore jurisdictions were done for the
    purpose of hiding activities from the public eye color objectivity and do
    not add to the substance of your arguments if one considers these matters carefully. Corporate jets are used by high net-worth individuals and corporations for a number
    of reasons, such as dealing with high value and time sensitive matters,
    privacy and the flexibility to change schedules and are indeed often used
    in the oil and gas industry, which happens to be part of our business. To
    suggest that our interest in luxury aircraft parallels the interests of
    Mexican drug cartels is particularly offensive, distasteful and baseless.
    We are also of the firm opinion that as an investigative journalist, you
    owe a basic duty of care to your readers to get all of your information right and it
    is regrettable that you had failed in this fundamental duty. Reproducing
    documents which were erroneous to begin with from 5 years ago will not absolve you from that duty. We also think that easily available information should not be
    couched in language which suggests deep investigative efforts, such as where you say
    that you had “discovered” that Planair was based in Lansaria airport when the
    information is easily Googled (and even on that score, you had made an error in
    stating that Planair was the commercial arm of China Sonangol). No doubt, when
    the truth is revealed, at least some of more discerning readers will at
    least question some of the assertions you have put forward. The objections
    raised here and the inaccuracies are by no means a complete list and we reserve
    the right to seriously raise them in another forum.

    Let it be known that as a Company, we will spare no effort in correcting
    misrepresentations and lies about us. While we had not responded to many
    inaccurate reports in the distant past about us as many were fantasies that
    did not dignify a response and also because we valued the privacy of
    our business partners and staff, the number of inaccuracies about us
    have grown regrettably due to journalists basing their articles or flawed
    works that had proceeded them, instead of investigatingmatters with a fresh
    eye. Thus we will spare no effort, or cost henceforth, inensuring that all
    information in print or on the web about China Sonangol and the rest of the group is fair, balanced and accurate. You may wish to note that in the past year, we have engaged serious and objective journalists, both in Asia and in Europe, in putting our version of matters across and in all of those instances, they have understood that they were misinformed. That is why we doubt serious efforts were indeed made by the writer of this article to contact us, as we would have gladly provided all of the information you
    see in our response.

    In this vein,, we regret that we require your (i.e. 100Reporters’)
    immediate retraction of the article from this website and an unreserved
    apology in a manner acceptable to us, with a copy of the apology to be
    sent to every newspaper and web based newspaper that has based any of
    their own publications on your article immediately. If we do not receive
    word of your agreement in this respect within 7 calendar days of our
    posting here, our lawyers will be in touch. In the meantime, all our
    rights are reserved.

    • Dear Sonangol ; I deeply Advise You to start a Legal action against 100reporters and the Journalist Khadija Sharife who did nothing else than publicly Defame your company ; I am operating in Angola I can testify that the article is not less that Illusion ; it doesn’t reflect any truth at all ! It is not a journalistic work ..but a Fiction Movie script for the tv show !!!!

    • Why Miss K.Sharife never phoned or emailed Sonangol ? The company has a public contact access and special dpt for Publication and journalists ; she would have received all the documents and proofs that her source is wrong and documents might be false,fake,forged ..those are criminals ! 100rporters and M.K.sharife should face the criminal court of law for such abusive use and publication ; 100reporters should close down if find guilty by law

  13. To 100r;

    We, at China Sonangol are totally shocked and dismayed with the insinuations and inaccuracies in your article. Neither our Management, Head of Communications or Legal department have been approached for any comment prior to your publication. You should make your stand clear by giving the details of your attempts to contact us. More seriously, we regret that your article is so replete with inaccuracies and unsupported insinuations that it cannot be credible by any measure but at the same time, was designed to and has caused us reputational harm. The freedom you have to publish matters of public concern must be tempered with responsible and accurate reporting. We also find your lack of attempt in understanding corporate structures, tax and the air services industry alarming, and no doubt contributing to your flawed conclusions. In this regard, we note with interest that other readers, such as Rob, have also picked up on other gaps in your article.

    We wish to state categorically that you are:

    ·
    WRONG about the ownership and relationships between several of the companies stated
    in your report. You have alleged corporate relationships between totally separate
    companies;

    ·
    WRONG about the information you are providing about Airbus VP-BEX, in particular its landing patterns, its cargo and matters pertaining to its registration amongst other;

    ·
    WRONG about the diamonds-China Sonangol has not purchased a single carat of diamond from Zimbabwe and we challenge you or anyone else to prove otherwise;

    ·
    WRONG about our transactions in New York.

    So as to give your readers a balanced view, we are left with no option but to point out the details of the factual inconsistencies, errors and inaccuracies evident in your flawed report.

    1.
    You state repeatedly that it is believed that our Airbus VP-BEX was used for smuggling out illicit diamonds from the Marange mine but have not offered as proof any evidence of that belief. Simply quoting other people who believe erroneously in such matters does NOT constitute proof. Global Witness’ report, on which you place great reliance, clearly only alleges the presence of the aircraft at Harare, but not the frequency. Your article however firmly alleges that the frequency is once a month. Your article did not name a single source of direct information that the aircraft visited Lanseria airport every month and we have evidence to prove that this is not the case (the schedule of
    flights is given below).

    2.
    If you have not interviewed directly, and indeed you did not state so, the source of Global Witness’ sources of information, then any information you would have received is 2nd hand information. The experience of judicial authorities around the world holds such evidence as unreliable and is usually referred to as “hearsay” and rejected as
    evidence of any fact by the courts.

    3.
    You referred to “Secret Central Intelligence Organisation documents” obtained by Global Witness (whom you probably did not have sight of) as evidence of Airbus VP-BEX’s role in ferrying diamonds out of Zimbabwe. If these documents exists, we reject their authenticity for the following
    reasons:-

    · the contents are untrue;

    · more importantly, a professional intelligence organization is unlikely to allow any operational document to fall into hostile hands. One has therefore to ask, how anyone could get his or her hands on the document and how likely it was for someone to give such a document to Global Witness and risk dismissal from his position within the organization ?

    · we are not aware of, nor has Global Witness published any steps it had taken to verify the authenticity of the documents. In such matters, can one simply assume that the documents were not falsely ‘manufactured’ and leaked to Global Witness for political or business purposes?

    ·
    Alternatively, if anyone had obtained it by some form of payment, one has to question if the document was created specifically for monetary reward. Such documents
    should never be regarded as reliable.

    4.
    For the record, it is indeed true that China Sonangol is involved in the diamond business. All of our diamonds however come from our jointly held Catoca mines in Angola (this is public information) and none are from Zimbabwe. Indeed, we challenge you or anyone else to prove that we have taken a single carat of diamond from Zimbabwe in any forum, be it publicly or in any court of law. In any case all of our operations are properly documented in accordance with the Kimberly Process. As some of your readers may know, unprocessed diamonds cannot be sold unless accompanied certification under the Kimberly Process.

    5.
    It is not uncommon for private jets to vary from its scheduled flight plan. This flexibility is indeed one of the main attractions of private jets and nothing sinister should be inferred from that. You have claimed that VP-BEX made an unscheduled stop in Luanda on October 10th, 2012 en route to Singapore by virtue of an unnamed South African security specialist. We have checked the aircraft log of VP-BEX and contrary to your report, the stop in Luanda was indeed logged in. The critical difference is that the aircraft was indeed ALREADY in Luanda from 8th October 2012 and flew on 10th October 2012 to Harare and not Singapore as you have alleged. So again, the information you are providing in your report is inaccurate and misleading.

    6.
    The truth of the matter is that VP-BEX used to fly into Lanseria Airport but not on a monthly basis as you allege but rather infrequently. But even if it did,there is a totally logical explanation. Aero Management Services (AMS) as you have conceded in your article, had a servicing contract with us and its facilities are located at Lanseria Airport. In the months of January, February, and most of March, VP-BEX did not fly into Lanseria and so again, your assertions that VP-BEX would be in Lanseria once a month or more is inaccurate and misleading. In late March 2012, it flew into Lanseria Airport and was kept in storage, as the aircraft was beginning its maintenance cycle. Thereafter, the aircraft came in and out of storage intermittently at Lanseria until mid-April 2012 where it then remained in storage from 12th April 2012 through the whole of May 2012 until June 2012. Thereafter, it made NO FURTHER flights to date into Lanseria. A logical reason exists for this, and this is that the servicing contract with
    AMS was terminated in mid-October 2012. Thus, a totally logical and legitimate
    reason exists for the aircraft to be at Lanseria Airport. It might not be as exciting as your article had put it, but this is the truth. It was certainly not at Lanseria Airport, as your article had insinuated, for the purpose of funneling Zimbabwean conflict diamonds through South Africa.

    7.
    The fact that servicing occurred at Lanseria airport would also explain why the plane did not necessarily declare any cargo when landing as it would usually do so without passengers, save for the crew.

    8.
    Planair is NOT the aviation arm nor related at all to China Sonangol, nor is it related to China International Fund,. More alarmingly, you have wrongly reported Hong Kong Jet as a subsidiary of Planair and that Planair had re-registered the plane under Hong
    Kong Jet. Planair and Hong Kong Jet are rivals in the same aviation space and do not have common owners so one cannot claim that there is a parent company-subsidiary relationship between them.. Both of these companies have nothing to do with China Sonangol but were successive operators when our aircraft operations were transferred from one operator (Planair) to the other (Hong Kong Jet). The decision to transfer the aircraft were purely cost and commercial considerations . We would like to state unequivocally that the change of operators was a matter which had been set in motion 6 months before the actual switch and was not in any way influenced by your investigations,which we were ignorant of until your publication a few days ago. Any expert in this field will tell you that this is something which cannot be done overnight
    due to heavy operational and administrative issues.

    9.
    On a related point, you have stated that Planair re-registered the plane under Hong Kong Jet. This is patently inaccurate for the reasons already stated: Planair has no link whatsoever with Hong Kong Jet. The aircraft was re-registered under Hong Kong Jet when the operator’s contract with Planair was terminated and a new aircraft operation agreement was entered into with Hong Kong Jet. As a matter of
    standard practice, a transition is effected between the previous and new
    operator for the transfer and re-registration of the aircraft under the new
    operator’s name. Furthermore, you have stated that the re-registration of the
    aircraft under Hong Kong Jet occurred in September 2012. This is factually incorrect as it occurred in mid-October 2012.

    10.
    You have also wrongly alleged that AMS is “another China Sonangol “ entity. We
    can state categorically that this is untrue and that we have no shares nor
    beneficial interest in Aero Management Services.

    11.
    You have also wrongly stated that SonAir is a subsidiary of China Sonangol. Again you are implying that China Sonangol owns shares or is in some way in control of SonAir. This is legally and factually totally inaccurate and misleading. We
    note that in your attempt to find out if South African authorities had oversight of VP-BEX’s stay at Lanseria, you were directed to seek the assistance of the Customs service and the Police. Yet you mention nothing of the outcome of any further discussions with Customs or the South African Police. We put it to you that no laws had been broken and that the matter could not be taken further as you only offered the Police and customs service what you are offering your readers: accusations unsubstantiated by proof.

    12.
    You suggest that the VP-BEX was registered in Bermuda due to the jurisdiction’s opacity and for tax evasion purposes. This is not true. We can be candid and say that we had a choice between Hong Kong and Bermuda. Hong Kong was an option as it was Hong Kong Jet’s home base. Bermuda however won at the end of the day because the aircraft registration and certification processes could be completed in a few days only, whereas it would have taken months to do so if it was Hong Kong. There was some urgency in having the plane registered as we were transiting from one operator (Planair) to another (Hong Kong Jet) at the time. As for tax evasion, please note that as the aircraft is not chartered or leased, it generates no revenue
    or profit on which taxes could be levied. Your argument is therefore beside the
    point and merely inflammatory.

    13.
    Other factual errors and omissions include:-

    · Alleging that the plane in question was purchased in mid-June 2006. This is inaccurate. The sale and purchase occurred in July 2005 and was purchased by China Sonangol International Holdings Limited, and not by Sonangol. The aircraft is also not in any way ‘mysterious’ as you have suggested;

    ·
    Alleging that Mr. Lev Leviev as a key figure in China International Fund,. Mr. Leviev has his own business empire (The Leviev Group) including substantial shareholdings and leadership roles in listed entities and does not hold any mandate to represent any of our related businesses, nor does he hold any position or is employed within China Sonangol or China International Fund ;

    ·
    Stating that Mr.Pierre Falcone is a key figure within the China Sonangol / China International Fund. Mr. Falcone is not employed nor does he hold any position within the group.

    ·
    Stating incorrectly that China Sonangol purchased 2 Airbus A319s last year and that the 2 planes were sitting in Harare airport. No A319s were purchased or delivered
    to us last year or indeed the last 5 years, and certainly not on behalf of Air
    Zimbabwe. Neither is it true that any of our A319s are positioned in Zimbabwe.

    ·
    Stating that we have a Hong Kong incorporated company called Sino-Zim Diamonds Ltd. No company by that name was incorporated by us in Hong Kong.

    ·
    The reference to New York property deals contained incorrect information. The transaction for 49% Madison Avenue Clock Tower and 49% stake in New York Times Building were never entered into although the possibility was explored. This is pure
    fantasy. As journalists, it is incumbent upon you to check carefully all sources of information independently, otherwise, as is the case here, you will extract incorrect information from an incorrect report. What is worse in this case is that you have elected to use information that is dated over 5 years ago without updating the
    information. We therefore have serious questions as to your real intentions by the publication of this article.

    We also take objection your selective choice of words designed to influence and indeed overpower casual readers of your article to your point of view, instead of allowing them to judge matters based on objective facts.

    Using terms like “secrecy jurisdiction” to describe where some of our entities are registered, such as the British Virgin Islands is not helpful nor meaningful as there is obviously a measured difference in opinion as to whether a jurisdiction provides privacy versus secrecy. In your article, you mention that Hong Kong, Singapore and British Virgin Islands are secrecy jurisdictions peddling protected spaces of legal and financial opacity. Nothing could be further from the truth. In both Hong Kong and Singapore, company shareholders and officers can be named via public corporate registers with information purchasable with a credit card. In the BVI, a famed privacy jurisdiction, the ability to obscure ownership by way of bearer shares was removed by legislation in recent years . Many companies however operate there legitimately for tax reasons and no matter what one’s opinion on the matter is, there is nothing legally wrong with managing tax exposure by incorporating in the BVI.

    We also thought it was ingenious, by the selective imagery of opulence with the aircraft and referring to the aircraft as “Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamond Jet” or “mysterious jet” you sought to elicit emotions of envy and suspicion that wealth of this nature cannot be gained except through illicit exploitation of innocents. There is also absolutely nothing mysterious about the aircraft. VP-BEX is properly registered in accordance with all international aviation regulations. Furthermore, we find that using such terms as “A flying Hotel Room” “luxury compartments” draws attention away from the fact that the aircraft is about 8 years old. Indeed, if luxury was our primary
    concern, we would have changed the aircraft sometime ago. The truth is that VP-BEX is, and has always been, a fully functional normal corporate jet. Furthermore, suggesting that company registrations in offshore jurisdictions were done for the purpose of hiding activities from the public eye color objectivity and do not add to the
    substance of your arguments if one considers these matters carefully. Corporate jets are used by high net-worth individuals and corporations for a number of reasons, such as dealing with high value and time sensitive matters, privacy and the flexibility to change schedules and are indeed often used in the oil and gas industry, which happens to be part of our business. To suggest that our interest in luxury aircraft parallels the interests of Mexican drug cartels is particularly offensive, distasteful and baseless. We are also of the firm opinion that as an investigative journalist, you owe a
    basic duty of care to your readers to get all of your information right and it
    is regrettable that you had failed in this fundamental duty. Reproducing documents
    which were erroneous to begin with from 5 years ago will not absolve you from
    that duty. We also think that easily available information should not be couched
    in language which suggests deep investigative efforts, such as where you say
    that you had “discovered” that Planair was based in Lansaria airport when the
    information is easily Googled (and even on that score, you had made an error in
    stating that Planair was the commercial arm of China Sonangol). No doubt, when the truth is revealed, at least some of more discerning readers will at least question some of the assertions you have put forward. The objections raised here and the inaccuracies are by no means a complete list and we reserve the right to seriously raise them in another forum.

    Let it be known that as a Company, we will spare no effort in correcting misrepresentations and lies about us. While we had not responded to many inaccurate reports in the distant past about us as many were fantasies that did not dignify a response and also because we valued the privacy of our business partners and staff, the number of inaccuracies about us have grown regrettably due to journalists basing their articles or flawed works that had proceeded them, instead of investigatingmatters with a fresh eye. Thus we will spare no effort, or cost henceforth, inensuring that all information in print or on the web about China Sonangol and the
    rest of the group is fair, balanced and accurate. You may wish to note that in
    the past year, we have engaged serious and objective journalists, both in Asia
    and in Europe, in putting our version of matters across and in all of those
    instances, they have understood that they were misinformed. That is why we doubt serious efforts were indeed made by the writer of this article to contact us, as we would have gladly provided all of the information you see in our response.

    In this vein,, we regret that we require your (i.e. 100Reporters’) immediate retraction of the article from this website and an unreserved apology in a manner acceptable to us, with a copy of the apology to be sent to every newspaper and web based newspaper that has based any of their own publications on your article immediately. If we do not receive word of your agreement in this respect within 7 calendar days of our posting here, our lawyers will be in touch. In the meantime, all our rights are reserved.

  14. To 100r;

    We, at China Sonangol are totally shocked and dismayed with the insinuations and inaccuracies in your article. Neither our Management, Head of Communications or Legal department have been approached for any comment prior to your publication. You should make your stand clear by giving the details of your attempts to contact us. More seriously, we regret that your article is so replete with inaccuracies and unsupported insinuations that it cannot be credible by any measure but at the same time, was designed to and has caused us reputational harm. The freedom you have to publish matters of public concern must be tempered with responsible and accurate reporting. We also find your lack of attempt in understanding corporate structures, tax and the air services industry alarming, and no doubt contributing to your flawed conclusions. In this regard, we note with interest that other readers, such as Rob, have also picked up on other gaps in your article.

    We wish to state categorically that you are:

    ·
    WRONG about the ownership and relationships between several of the companies stated
    in your report. You have alleged corporate relationships between totally separate
    companies;

    ·
    WRONG about the information you are providing about Airbus VP-BEX, in particular its landing patterns, its cargo and matters pertaining to its registration amongst other;

    ·
    WRONG about the diamonds-China Sonangol has not purchased a single carat of diamond from Zimbabwe and we challenge you or anyone else to prove otherwise;

    ·
    WRONG about our transactions in New York.

    So as to give your readers a balanced view, we are left with no option but to point out the details of the factual inconsistencies, errors and inaccuracies evident in your flawed report.

    1.
    You state repeatedly that it is believed that our Airbus VP-BEX was used for smuggling out illicit diamonds from the Marange mine but have not offered as proof any evidence of that belief. Simply quoting other people who believe erroneously in such matters does NOT constitute proof. Global Witness’ report, on which you place great reliance, clearly only alleges the presence of the aircraft at Harare, but not the frequency. Your article however firmly alleges that the frequency is once a month. Your article did not name a single source of direct information that the aircraft visited Lanseria airport every month and we have evidence to prove that this is not the case (the schedule of
    flights is given below).

    2.
    If you have not interviewed directly, and indeed you did not state so, the source of Global Witness’ sources of information, then any information you would have received is 2nd hand information. The experience of judicial authorities around the world holds such evidence as unreliable and is usually referred to as “hearsay” and rejected as
    evidence of any fact by the courts.

    3.
    You referred to “Secret Central Intelligence Organisation documents” obtained by Global Witness (whom you probably did not have sight of) as evidence of Airbus VP-BEX’s role in ferrying diamonds out of Zimbabwe. If these documents exists, we reject their authenticity for the following
    reasons:-

    · the contents are untrue;

    · more importantly, a professional intelligence organization is unlikely to allow any operational document to fall into hostile hands. One has therefore to ask, how anyone could get his or her hands on the document and how likely it was for someone to give such a document to Global Witness and risk dismissal from his position within the organization ?

    · we are not aware of, nor has Global Witness published any steps it had taken to verify the authenticity of the documents. In such matters, can one simply assume that the documents were not falsely ‘manufactured’ and leaked to Global Witness for political or business purposes?

    ·
    Alternatively, if anyone had obtained it by some form of payment, one has to question if the document was created specifically for monetary reward. Such documents
    should never be regarded as reliable.

    4.
    For the record, it is indeed true that China Sonangol is involved in the diamond business. All of our diamonds however come from our jointly held Catoca mines in Angola (this is public information) and none are from Zimbabwe. Indeed, we challenge you or anyone else to prove that we have taken a single carat of diamond from Zimbabwe in any forum, be it publicly or in any court of law. In any case all of our operations are properly documented in accordance with the Kimberly Process. As some of your readers may know, unprocessed diamonds cannot be sold unless accompanied certification under the Kimberly Process.

    5.
    It is not uncommon for private jets to vary from its scheduled flight plan. This flexibility is indeed one of the main attractions of private jets and nothing sinister should be inferred from that. You have claimed that VP-BEX made an unscheduled stop in Luanda on October 10th, 2012 en route to Singapore by virtue of an unnamed South African security specialist. We have checked the aircraft log of VP-BEX and contrary to your report, the stop in Luanda was indeed logged in. The critical difference is that the aircraft was indeed ALREADY in Luanda from 8th October 2012 and flew on 10th October 2012 to Harare and not Singapore as you have alleged. So again, the information you are providing in your report is inaccurate and misleading.

    6.
    The truth of the matter is that VP-BEX used to fly into Lanseria Airport but not on a monthly basis as you allege but rather infrequently. But even if it did,there is a totally logical explanation. Aero Management Services (AMS) as you have conceded in your article, had a servicing contract with us and its facilities are located at Lanseria Airport. In the months of January, February, and most of March, VP-BEX did not fly into Lanseria and so again, your assertions that VP-BEX would be in Lanseria once a month or more is inaccurate and misleading. In late March 2012, it flew into Lanseria Airport and was kept in storage, as the aircraft was beginning its maintenance cycle. Thereafter, the aircraft came in and out of storage intermittently at Lanseria until mid-April 2012 where it then remained in storage from 12th April 2012 through the whole of May 2012 until June 2012. Thereafter, it made NO FURTHER flights to date into Lanseria. A logical reason exists for this, and this is that the servicing contract with
    AMS was terminated in mid-October 2012. Thus, a totally logical and legitimate
    reason exists for the aircraft to be at Lanseria Airport. It might not be as exciting as your article had put it, but this is the truth. It was certainly not at Lanseria Airport, as your article had insinuated, for the purpose of funneling Zimbabwean conflict diamonds through South Africa.

    7.
    The fact that servicing occurred at Lanseria airport would also explain why the plane did not necessarily declare any cargo when landing as it would usually do so without passengers, save for the crew.

    8.
    Planair is NOT the aviation arm nor related at all to China Sonangol, nor is it related to China International Fund,. More alarmingly, you have wrongly reported Hong Kong Jet as a subsidiary of Planair and that Planair had re-registered the plane under Hong
    Kong Jet. Planair and Hong Kong Jet are rivals in the same aviation space and do not have common owners so one cannot claim that there is a parent company-subsidiary relationship between them.. Both of these companies have nothing to do with China Sonangol but were successive operators when our aircraft operations were transferred from one operator (Planair) to the other (Hong Kong Jet). The decision to transfer the aircraft were purely cost and commercial considerations . We would like to state unequivocally that the change of operators was a matter which had been set in motion 6 months before the actual switch and was not in any way influenced by your investigations,which we were ignorant of until your publication a few days ago. Any expert in this field will tell you that this is something which cannot be done overnight
    due to heavy operational and administrative issues.

    9.
    On a related point, you have stated that Planair re-registered the plane under Hong Kong Jet. This is patently inaccurate for the reasons already stated: Planair has no link whatsoever with Hong Kong Jet. The aircraft was re-registered under Hong Kong Jet when the operator’s contract with Planair was terminated and a new aircraft operation agreement was entered into with Hong Kong Jet. As a matter of
    standard practice, a transition is effected between the previous and new
    operator for the transfer and re-registration of the aircraft under the new
    operator’s name. Furthermore, you have stated that the re-registration of the
    aircraft under Hong Kong Jet occurred in September 2012. This is factually incorrect as it occurred in mid-October 2012.

    10.
    You have also wrongly alleged that AMS is “another China Sonangol “ entity. We
    can state categorically that this is untrue and that we have no shares nor
    beneficial interest in Aero Management Services.

    11.
    You have also wrongly stated that SonAir is a subsidiary of China Sonangol. Again you are implying that China Sonangol owns shares or is in some way in control of SonAir. This is legally and factually totally inaccurate and misleading. We
    note that in your attempt to find out if South African authorities had oversight of VP-BEX’s stay at Lanseria, you were directed to seek the assistance of the Customs service and the Police. Yet you mention nothing of the outcome of any further discussions with Customs or the South African Police. We put it to you that no laws had been broken and that the matter could not be taken further as you only offered the Police and customs service what you are offering your readers: accusations unsubstantiated by proof.

    12.
    You suggest that the VP-BEX was registered in Bermuda due to the jurisdiction’s opacity and for tax evasion purposes. This is not true. We can be candid and say that we had a choice between Hong Kong and Bermuda. Hong Kong was an option as it was Hong Kong Jet’s home base. Bermuda however won at the end of the day because the aircraft registration and certification processes could be completed in a few days only, whereas it would have taken months to do so if it was Hong Kong. There was some urgency in having the plane registered as we were transiting from one operator (Planair) to another (Hong Kong Jet) at the time. As for tax evasion, please note that as the aircraft is not chartered or leased, it generates no revenue
    or profit on which taxes could be levied. Your argument is therefore beside the
    point and merely inflammatory.

    13.
    Other factual errors and omissions include:-

    · Alleging that the plane in question was purchased in mid-June 2006. This is inaccurate. The sale and purchase occurred in July 2005 and was purchased by China Sonangol International Holdings Limited, and not by Sonangol. The aircraft is also not in any way ‘mysterious’ as you have suggested;

    ·
    Alleging that Mr. Lev Leviev as a key figure in China International Fund,. Mr. Leviev has his own business empire (The Leviev Group) including substantial shareholdings and leadership roles in listed entities and does not hold any mandate to represent any of our related businesses, nor does he hold any position or is employed within China Sonangol or China International Fund ;

    ·
    Stating that Mr.Pierre Falcone is a key figure within the China Sonangol / China International Fund. Mr. Falcone is not employed nor does he hold any position within the group.

    ·
    Stating incorrectly that China Sonangol purchased 2 Airbus A319s last year and that the 2 planes were sitting in Harare airport. No A319s were purchased or delivered
    to us last year or indeed the last 5 years, and certainly not on behalf of Air
    Zimbabwe. Neither is it true that any of our A319s are positioned in Zimbabwe.

    ·
    Stating that we have a Hong Kong incorporated company called Sino-Zim Diamonds Ltd. No company by that name was incorporated by us in Hong Kong.

    ·
    The reference to New York property deals contained incorrect information. The transaction for 49% Madison Avenue Clock Tower and 49% stake in New York Times Building were never entered into although the possibility was explored. This is pure
    fantasy. As journalists, it is incumbent upon you to check carefully all sources of information independently, otherwise, as is the case here, you will extract incorrect information from an incorrect report. What is worse in this case is that you have elected to use information that is dated over 5 years ago without updating the
    information. We therefore have serious questions as to your real intentions by the publication of this article.

    We also take objection your selective choice of words designed to influence and indeed overpower casual readers of your article to your point of view, instead of allowing them to judge matters based on objective facts.

    Using terms like “secrecy jurisdiction” to describe where some of our entities are registered, such as the British Virgin Islands is not helpful nor meaningful as there is obviously a measured difference in opinion as to whether a jurisdiction provides privacy versus secrecy. In your article, you mention that Hong Kong, Singapore and British Virgin Islands are secrecy jurisdictions peddling protected spaces of legal and financial opacity. Nothing could be further from the truth. In both Hong Kong and Singapore, company shareholders and officers can be named via public corporate registers with information purchasable with a credit card. In the BVI, a famed privacy jurisdiction, the ability to obscure ownership by way of bearer shares was removed by legislation in recent years . Many companies however operate there legitimately for tax reasons and no matter what one’s opinion on the matter is, there is nothing legally wrong with managing tax exposure by incorporating in the BVI.

    We also thought it was ingenious, by the selective imagery of opulence with the aircraft and referring to the aircraft as “Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamond Jet” or “mysterious jet” you sought to elicit emotions of envy and suspicion that wealth of this nature cannot be gained except through illicit exploitation of innocents. There is also absolutely nothing mysterious about the aircraft. VP-BEX is properly registered in accordance with all international aviation regulations. Furthermore, we find that using such terms as “A flying Hotel Room” “luxury compartments” draws attention away from the fact that the aircraft is about 8 years old. Indeed, if luxury was our primary
    concern, we would have changed the aircraft sometime ago. The truth is that VP-BEX is, and has always been, a fully functional normal corporate jet. Furthermore, suggesting that company registrations in offshore jurisdictions were done for the purpose of hiding activities from the public eye color objectivity and do not add to the
    substance of your arguments if one considers these matters carefully. Corporate jets are used by high net-worth individuals and corporations for a number of reasons, such as dealing with high value and time sensitive matters, privacy and the flexibility to change schedules and are indeed often used in the oil and gas industry, which happens to be part of our business. To suggest that our interest in luxury aircraft parallels the interests of Mexican drug cartels is particularly offensive, distasteful and baseless. We are also of the firm opinion that as an investigative journalist, you owe a
    basic duty of care to your readers to get all of your information right and it
    is regrettable that you had failed in this fundamental duty. Reproducing documents
    which were erroneous to begin with from 5 years ago will not absolve you from
    that duty. We also think that easily available information should not be couched
    in language which suggests deep investigative efforts, such as where you say
    that you had “discovered” that Planair was based in Lansaria airport when the
    information is easily Googled (and even on that score, you had made an error in
    stating that Planair was the commercial arm of China Sonangol). No doubt, when the truth is revealed, at least some of more discerning readers will at least question some of the assertions you have put forward. The objections raised here and the inaccuracies are by no means a complete list and we reserve the right to seriously raise them in another forum.

    Let it be known that as a Company, we will spare no effort in correcting misrepresentations and lies about us. While we had not responded to many inaccurate reports in the distant past about us as many were fantasies that did not dignify a response and also because we valued the privacy of our business partners and staff, the number of inaccuracies about us have grown regrettably due to journalists basing their articles or flawed works that had proceeded them, instead of investigatingmatters with a fresh eye. Thus we will spare no effort, or cost henceforth, inensuring that all information in print or on the web about China Sonangol and the
    rest of the group is fair, balanced and accurate. You may wish to note that in
    the past year, we have engaged serious and objective journalists, both in Asia
    and in Europe, in putting our version of matters across and in all of those
    instances, they have understood that they were misinformed. That is why we doubt serious efforts were indeed made by the writer of this article to contact us, as we would have gladly provided all of the information you see in our response.

    In this vein,, we regret that we require your (i.e. 100Reporters’) immediate retraction of the article from this website and an unreserved apology in a manner acceptable to us, with a copy of the apology to be sent to every newspaper and web based newspaper that has based any of their own publications on your article immediately. If we do not receive word of your agreement in this respect within 7 calendar days of our posting here, our lawyers will be in touch. In the meantime, all our rights are reserved.

  15. Zimbabwe Diamonds are Not Red and not Black ; The loser is De Beers : China is The Future and will play very soon leadership !! Diamonds are moving west to east

  16. Zimbabwe Diamonds are Not Red and not Black ; The loser is De Beers : China is The Future and will play very soon leadership !! Diamonds are moving west to east

  17. Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union’s (EU) foreign affairs council, and William Hague, Foreign Secretary of the U.K., comment after the vote to ease some restrictions on Zimbabwe ahead of its constitutional referendum vote in March. EU sanctions are reviewed annually and this year Belgium lobbied to strike the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) from EU trade restrictions; however, that was not approved just yet pending transparent presidential elections, which are tentatively planned for July.

    U.S. sanctions remain on ZMDC along with the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources and its Block Wood Mining company, and numerous individuals in the ruling party, some of whom the U.S. State Department determined to have ties to diamond mining firms.

  18. Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union’s (EU) foreign affairs council, and William Hague, Foreign Secretary of the U.K., comment after the vote to ease some restrictions on Zimbabwe ahead of its constitutional referendum vote in March. EU sanctions are reviewed annually and this year Belgium lobbied to strike the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) from EU trade restrictions; however, that was not approved just yet pending transparent presidential elections, which are tentatively planned for July.

    U.S. sanctions remain on ZMDC along with the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources and its Block Wood Mining company, and numerous individuals in the ruling party, some of whom the U.S. State Department determined to have ties to diamond mining firms.

  19. I can’t comment on the facts produced by the journalist. But i can comment on the ‘link’ made btwn late mujuru’s death and the seizing of the marange claim by gvt….the claim was seized at least 5yrs before mujuru died…..the writer puts the facts together as if they happened concurrently……deceptive to say the least…..but an ignirant reader will lap it up unknowingly

    • Rob, Mujuru parts makes sense. He was ‘mr diamond’ in ZANU and Zim. Murdered in his house. Biggest contender for Mugabe spot through his wife Joice. Part of ACR that ZANU took. Read more careful.

    • Leaving ignorants , enlightened in their ignorance indeed ; nothing serious ..it is written “Believed” —You know who comfort into believe ?? Ignorants

  20. I can’t comment on the facts produced by the journalist. But i can comment on the ‘link’ made btwn late mujuru’s death and the seizing of the marange claim by gvt….the claim was seized at least 5yrs before mujuru died…..the writer puts the facts together as if they happened concurrently……deceptive to say the least…..but an ignirant reader will lap it up unknowingly

    • Rob, Mujuru parts makes sense. He was ‘mr diamond’ in ZANU and Zim. Murdered in his house. Biggest contender for Mugabe spot through his wife Joice. Part of ACR that ZANU took. Read more careful.

    • Leaving ignorants , enlightened in their ignorance indeed ; nothing serious ..it is written “Believed” —You know who comfort into believe ?? Ignorants

  21. Investigative journalism! Great job. Please now focus on Nigerian corruption. Many Nigerian politicians and big time pastors are buying luxury jets. Is this to do with laundering of money????

  22. Investigative journalism! Great job. Please now focus on Nigerian corruption. Many Nigerian politicians and big time pastors are buying luxury jets. Is this to do with laundering of money????

  23. finally some authentic journalism! if the world had more people like ms. sharife, willing to pursue the truth into the dark corners in which it is hidden, and ask tough questions of people in power, many of our problems would be solved. encore! thank you!

  24. finally some authentic journalism! if the world had more people like ms. sharife, willing to pursue the truth into the dark corners in which it is hidden, and ask tough questions of people in power, many of our problems would be solved. encore! thank you!

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