Zimbabwe sucked into arms trafficking scandal in Ecuado – Report

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) has been sucked into the arms trafficking scandal involving rogue Ecuadorian bishop Walter Crespo amid allegations that the shadowy Zimbabwean army-run company supplied some of the weapons smuggled by Crespo to Colombian rebels.\r\n

Crespo was detained by Ecuadorian police in 2000-03 for arms trafficking to the guerrillas of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionariasde Colombia (FARC), also known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

London-based political think-tank Africa Confidential said last week that the ZDI was the source of the arms supplied by Crespo to the notorious rebels accused of kidnappings and murdering innocent civilians.

“We hear some of the end user certificates for the arms were supplied by Zimbabwe Defence Industries, an army-controlled firm headed by retired Colonel Tshinga Dube,” the think-tank said.

It also alleged possible arms dealing and money laundering activities by the Zimbabwean arms company.

“Given that arms supplied to FARC are generally paid for with cocaine, the ZDI’s foray into Latin American operations may partly explain the surge of money laundered through the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) over the past decade,” Africa Confidential said.

The ZSE experienced a fairytale ride between 2000 and 2008, largely driven by liquid market conditions.

FARC is a violent guerrilla organisation described by the US, Colombian, New Zealand, Canadian and European Union governments as a “terrorist” group.

It has been accused of kidnapping government officials and aid workers and recruiting child soldiers.