A leading diamond trade watchdog says £1.25 billion in diamonds has been stolen from Zimbabwe’s eastern diamond fields by president Robert Mugabe’s ruling circle and international gem dealers.

Partnership Africa Canada – a member of the Kimberley Process, the world regulatory body on the diamond trade – said alleges Zimbabwe’s gems have been plundered by the Mugabe regime.

Its report said vast earnings from Zimbabwe’s eastern Marange fields – one of the world’s biggest diamond deposits – have not reached the state treasury.

The PAC report, released to coincide with the Zimbabwe government’s conference on the diamond trade, cast a shadow over the Mugabe regime’s effort to win international respectability for its gem trade.