ZCDC terminates De Pretto’s contract

(Last Updated On: September 3, 2020)

TINASHE MAKICHI

The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) has terminated the employment contract for its acting chief executive Roberto De Pretto, Business Times can report.

De Pretto has been acting chief executive since May 16, 2019 following the ouster of Moris Mpofu over abuse of office allegations.

Mpofu was fired alongside six other executives as part of measures to refocus the business in light of the “prevailing operating environment”.

Since the departure of Mpofu, the state-owned diamond miner has been searching for a new chief executive.

A well-placed source at ZCDC told Business Times that De Pretto’s contract was terminated last week.

“De Pretto is no longer acting chief executive for ZCDC and he left on Friday last week,” the source said. Contacted for comment De Pretto confirmed saying: “Affirmative.”

ZCDC spokesperson Sugar Chagonda had promised to respond but could not do so by the time of going for print.

Business Times is informed that the search for a new chief executive has since been completed. ZCDC was established in 2015 after government consolidated all diamond operations in Marange to stem loopholes amid claims diamond proceeds were not reaching Treasury coffers.

ZCDC has operations in Chiadzwa and in Chimanimani in Manicaland Province.

It is conducting extensive exploration and evaluation across Zimbabwe. The debt ridden state controlled enterprise has been haunted by scandals and under-performance ever since its formation leading to perennial losses of more than US$50m in the period between April 2015 and May 2016 alone.

According to the AMG Global audit report on the diamond firm, the company has been operating at a loss since its inception in 2015.

In May, the ZCDC board resigned en masse in alleged protest over the government’s decision to award part of Chiadzwa diamond fields to Chinese firm, Anjin, citing lack of consultation.

The former board consisted of Killian Ukama (chairman), Ellah Muchemwa, Elizabeth Nerwande Chibanda, Zenzo Nsimbi, Esau Chiadzwa, Alexander Mukwekwezeke, and Niya Mtombeni.

At its peak in 2012, Zimbabwe produced 12m carats, but in 2018 production was low as 2.8m carats.

Government is amending its earlier decree of prescribing a single diamond producer in Marange following the return of the Chinese government backed Anjin and the coming on board of Russian producer, Alrosa.

Zimbabwe is believed to have the potential to account for 25% of the global diamond production and it is targeting to expand its diamond industry to 10 million carats by 2023.

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