BY KENNETH NYANGANI

THE Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG) has trained 80 members of the Marange community on ways to curb transnational organised crime that has seen diamonds being smuggled out of Chiadzwa.

CNRG, led by Farai Maguwu, last week held a training workshop for the villagers in the affected communities, who were taught on how to investigate and report on diamond smuggling.

In an interview with NewsDay on the sidelines of the workshop, CNRG projects co-ordinator O’bren Nhachi said the aim was to curb diamond smuggling, which hss seen the country losing millions of dollars in potential revenue.

Nhachi said villagers realised that they were losing not only revenue, which can benefit them, but the scourge of diamond smuggling had negative cultural and social implications.

“As you witnessed today, we are embarking on training the Marange community to tackle transnational organised crime in the diamond industry,” he said.

“We are targeting Marange community members who reside in the diamond-rich areas so that they can curb smuggling. The community members have confessed that they are not passive watchers in the process of diamond smuggling. This is a critical issue because curbing smuggling will also ensure curbing illicit loss of potential revenue that could be channelled to the development agenda. So far, we have done three meetings.

“We are working with 80 people and our wish is that they cascade down the message and teach others.”

Nhachi encouraged the community to work in harmony with law enforcement agents in the fight against smuggling.

Bocha Diamond Development community board chair Lovemore Mukwada said the smugglers were well connected and the communities had no power of stopping them.

“We have witnessed some people who we believe are here just to smuggle diamonds, but we don’t have power to stop them. We have well-known diamond buyers and they are well connected and we don’t know how to stop them. This is organised crime at its best,” he said.

William Nyamasoka, who attended the training, said: “We are going to use this information and knowledge to help in curbing the rampant diamond leakages.”