Efforts to recall Ambassador to Australia linked to diamonds smuggling syndicate

HARARE – The former ruling party ZANU PF has hatched a plan to tarnish the image of Zimbabwean ambassador to Australia Ms Jacqueline Zwambila in order to build up a case for her withdrawal from the post amid reports she has become a barrier to a large scale diamond smuggling operation through Australia en-route to India and China, we can reveal.

Ambassador Jacqueline Zwambila is one of five ambassadors from the MDC parties in the coalition government, posted to serve in different countries.

The other four are Hebson Makuvise in Germany, Hilda Suka-Mafudze in Sudan, Trudy Stevenson in Senegal, and Mabed Ngulani in Nigeria

The Zimbabwe Mail can reveal that the plan to remove Ambassador Zwambila from Australia was hatched by Zimbabwe State intelligence agency, the CIO, working together with Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Joey Bimha and Australian based senior Zanu PF official Reason Wafawarova, who doubles up as academic political analyst.

According to information from highly placed sources, the Zimbabwe government officials, military generals and senior Zanu PF officials are smuggling Zimbabwe blood diamonds through the Zimbabwe-Australian embassy en-route to India, China and other Asian countries using the Diplomatic bag. The Australian link is due to a specific international regional airline which being used for the transportation.

A diplomatic bag, also known as a diplomatic pouch, is an envelope, parcel, shipping container or any other kind of receptacle used by diplomatic missions. As long as it is externally marked to show its status, the bag has diplomatic immunity from search or seizure, as codified in article 27 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

It may only contain articles intended for official use. It need not be a bag. In fact, no size limit is specified by the convention. It is often escorted by a diplomatic courier, who is similarly immune from arrest and detention.

We have already revealed in the past that the Zimbabwe diamonds trading company Mbada Diamonds which is heavily linked to the First Lady Grace Mugabe and her husband have established a large diamond smuggling network at embassies dotted around the world.

The syndicate is run by the Foreign Affairs Permanent secretary Joey Bimha who is a close relative of the First Lady.

Last month we also reported that top Zanu (PF) officials have secretly recalled Zimbabwean diplomats in order to replace them with their relatives and friends to enable them to smuggle diamonds and burst travel ban sanctions imposed by some Western governments.

These embassy staff are also engaged in illegal arms trade and money laundering schemes and negotiating deals with diamond buyers.

Nengomasha Mnangagwa, the daughter of the powerful defence minister and Zanu (PF) secretary for Legal affairs, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is one of the people who have just received diplomatic training in Harare.

The sources said one of the well connected people who have been given a diplomatic position was Pedro Del Campo, who is now called the Honorary Zimbabwe Tourism Ambassador to Spain. The Spanish-based Del Campo is married to Nyasha Mujuru, a daughter of Vice-president Joyce Mujuru.

Joey Bima who doubles up as Foreign Affairs permanent secretary and family spokesman for the First Lady Grace Mugabe at the First family occasions is at the centre of the diamond smuggling operation and key figure in the syndicate operating from embassies.

The Zimbabwe government diamond smuggling syndicate has identified the Australian Embassy as key transportation channel to India, China and other Asian countries.

In Zimbabwe, the diamonds are packed in diplomatic bags and flown into South African where they are cleared by "complying" South African security agents before a long journey to Sydney, Australia and from there; they are dispatched to various Asian countries, mainly India and China.

At the Zimbabwean embassy in Australia the presents of the Movement for Democratic Change official Ms Jacqueline Zwambila as the designated ambassador, has been seen as a problem by Zanu PF officials and hence has targeted for recall on trumped up charges that she stripped in front of three male embassy staff, a charge she has vehemently denied.

Robert Mugabe’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has recalled the ambassador Ms Zwambila for "debriefing", as part of choreographed plan to withdraw her from the embassy post.

Running in concurrent with the Zanu PF Aussie skullduggery is a hatchet job being carried out in the State media discredited a former Ministry of Foreign Affairs official who been training MDC diplomatic officials and their staff members.

The former Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy director of training Mr Abednico Chikanda trained 64 MDC staff in a four-week "course".

Sources at the Australian embassy said all hell broke loose when Ms Zwambila insisted that, only she should opened the diplomatic bag which did not go down well with the authorities in Harare.

In recent weeks, Zanu PF officials have publicly lined up to encourage their dear leader President Robert Mugabe to recall the ambassador over the alleged trumped up charges.

We can also reveal that the Stage intelligence agents planted information on the embassy website in which she was quoted as backing the Western sanctions, a case which they now use as the basis of her being at odds with "Zimbabwe government policy on western sanctions" imposed on the country.

In comments posted on the website, Zwambila appeared to encourage western countries to lift sanctions against state companies administered by ministers from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party, but not those presided over by Zanu PF officials.

Her position drew dramatised fire from Zanu PF officials who said she was trying to "create a government within a government".

And the ground was laid for action against the envoy when Chris Mutsvangwa, a former ambassador to China and Zanu PF official, declared: "President Mugabe may be forced to recall Ambassador Zwambila.

"He should not let his name and that of the country be tarnished by people who do not understand the meaning of representing a country."

It has emerged that Zwambila originally declined to return to the country until she was given an "ultimatum", the state-run Herald newspaper reported.

A Foreign Affairs Ministry official said: "She is in the country for debriefing. She was called by Foreign Affairs to explain the allegations being levelled against her.

"Our embassy bought her a flight ticket on Friday and she left for Harare on Saturday but she only arrived yesterday.

"She initially ignored a letter written by Foreign Affairs for four days and only resolved to come home after getting an ultimatum."

Zwambila has reportedly held talks with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as she waits to learn her fate.

The increasingly paranoid Zanu PF is also now bent on believing its propaganda that Australia is funding the MDC and hence the latest trumped up charges to remove Ms Jacqueline Zwambila from her diplomatic posting as ambassador to Australia.