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Revealed! Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation’s Secret Cannabis Farm

Revealed! Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation’s Secret Cannabis Farm

Leopold Munhende, The Sentry

10 June 2024 at 10:00:00

International policy Investigative organization, The Sentry, has exposed Zimbabwe's secretive CIO’s vast business network which focuses on diamonds, coal and industrial cannabis. It has urged the Government to dissolve this empire and make the CIO more accountable and be paid for from the National Budget instead of the shady financing that is currently taking place.

AN investigation by the internationally acclaimed unit, The Sentry has revealed that Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) owns and controls a vast but secret business empire for extra income.

The empire includes companies involved in tourism, coal mining and farming of hemp, a cannabis plant grown mainly for fabric manufacturing.

Two of the companies named in The Sentry report were recently awarded coal mining concessions in the Kariba basin covering 50,000 hectares.

The spy agency is believed to have interests in Terrestrial Holdings, Terrestrial Mining, Whitelime Mining and Chimanimani Logistics whose registration records are missing.

It either owns or has interests in Sino Zim Development, Sino Zim Cotton and Sino Zim Diamonds companies. The CIO ultimately reports to President Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured above), who is assumed to have detailed knowledge of these operations.

"While the bulk of the CIO's funds come from the official budget, the agency--which has a dedicated investment branch--has been known to engage in private business ventures as a source of off-budget financing.

"The government of Zimbabwe should dissolve the CIO's businesses, wind up its investment branch, and ensure through appropriate national security legislation that there is, in future, just one source of revenue for the agency, voted for by Parliament in the annual budgeting process," reads the report, published on 6 June 2024.

"This would enable better oversight and accountability and allow for security priorities to be balanced against other civilian funding requirements during the budgeting process."

Although State Security Agencies ought to be funded by public funds as per Zimbabwe's statutes, tax enforcement has seen the military, CIO and at times the police engaging in corporate ventures.

The military has virtually sealed off Zimbabwe's diamond fields where it has interests.

The effect, according to The Sentry, is that these agencies could end up sponsoring rogue units as was seen in 2023 after the formation of a splinter, CIO funded and controlled Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ) unit for intimidation of Zanu PF's political opponents.

Adds the report: "The existence of an autonomous CIO business network matters because the agency--which has reportedly engaged in election-related intimidation--requires civilian control, including full financial oversight and transparency, to prevent abuse.

"Security forces with their own sources of revenue can more easily go rogue."

With Zimbabwe already on the international radar for cases of human rights abuse at the hands of the CIO, army and police. The Sentry's report urges banks to reconsider their relationship with companies owned by the agency in relation to United Nations (UN) policy.

"Banks and firms doing business with Terrestrial Holdings and related companies should conduct enhanced due diligence--consistent with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights--into the ownership structure of the entity to identify and mitigate risks associated with direct or indirect support for a state security agency whose members are accused of human rights abuses and undermining democracy," it further reads.


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