aldo dell ariccio.jpgEuropean Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr. Aldo Dell’Ariccia has tried to defend the 6 000-euro bribe paid to a Liberian Deputy Minister to produce a damning report on the Marange diamonds, saying the bloc had given him the money as subsistence allowances.

The EU has admitted giving money, but has vainly attempted to describe the funds as meant for subsistence allowances.

Mr. Dell’Ariccia said the dispute over an outstanding balance of 40% of the total amount between the Liberian Deputy Minister, Mr. Fayia and the EU is a result of Fayia’s misunderstanding of the contract where he was supposed to receive subsistence allowances for the mission.

Ambassador Dell’Ariccia refused to show the ZBC News team a copy of the contract, saying it is not for public consumption.

 

However, he was at pains to explain what interest the European grouping had in funding the Liberian official at a time when it is involved in a bitter dispute with Zimbabwe over land.

However, in an indirect admission that the EU manipulated Mr. Fayia, Ambassador Dell’Ariccia agreed that Liberia is a poor country and therefore could not pay for the Kimberly Process review mission to Zimbabwe in 2010.

The governments of South Africa, Australia, Ghana and Namibia are said to have sponsored their ministers for the mission, while the European Union offered to sponsor economically disadvantaged Liberia.

The EU which has been at the forefront of demonising Zimbabwe over the land reform programme is alleged to have bribed the Liberian Deputy Minister to write a damning report on its diamonds so as to keep Marange gemstones off the market.

This graft was only discovered when the EU refused to pay the outstanding 40%.