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Legislative gaps breed IFFs in gemstone sector 

April 2022

Policy and legislative gaps in the gemstone sector have resulted in the flourishing of Illicit Financial Flows that are proving to be highly costly to the country, a recent report has established. The report titled Scope and Nature of Illicit Flows in Zimbabwe’s Gemstone Sector by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) established that the current legislative framework does not cover three other precious stones (ruby, sapphire and emeralds) and the rest of the thirty-three plus semi-precious stones. “The study unearthed that there are serious gaps in the policy, legal and institutional frameworks governing the gemstone sector in Zimbabwe.

With specific reference to gemstones, the only policy that exists is the Diamond Policy, which has been heavily criticized for lack of adequate provisions for transparency and the curtailing of top-level discretionary powers, among many other shortfalls. “There is also lack of commitment to implement the progressive provisions of the policy such as development of local diamond evaluation and value addition capacities.

There is no gemstone policy that covers the three other precious stones (ruby, sapphire and emeralds) and the rest of the thirty-three plus semi-precious stones. All these policy gaps create loopholes for the prevalence of illicit financial flows and smuggling in the sector,” reads the report. The study found that while the Mines and Minerals Act mentions precious stones, it is conspicuously silent on semi-precious stones. The Precious Stones Trade Act only regulates two precious stones, namely diamonds and emeralds; and when read together with the Mines and Minerals Act, it implies that the latter Act’s definition of precious stones includes only diamonds and emeralds.

Weaknesses in policy, legislative and institutional frameworks governing the gemstone sector in Zimbabwe, has resulted in illegitimate trade practices. For all gemstones, the formal footprint on the value chain is very narrow (several stages are missing). Read more

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