Posted by: maboulette | March 24, 2017

Sierra Leone Pastor Finds Huge Diamond in Kono


A pastor working in the mines in eastern Sierra Leone has extracted a 706-carat diamond, the government said, pledging to hold a transparent auction for the gem in a nation once contaminated by “blood diamonds”.


The huge diamond was discovered by Pastor Emmanuel Momoh, one of thousands who seek their fortunes in the informal mining sector that controls the diamond-rich Kono region, the government said in a statement.

“A 706-carat diamond was presented to President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma yesterday evening,” the president’s office said.

“Receiving the diamond President Koroma thanked the chief and his people for not smuggling the diamond out of the country,” it added, referring to the Tankoro chiefdom where Momoh uncovered the gem.


The sale of “blood diamonds” helped finance civil wars across Africa in the 1990s and often funded military dictatorships in a continent that the London Diamond Bourse estimates provides 65 percent of the world’s diamonds.


Sierra Leonean rebels allowed traders to exploit diamond mines and ship the gems abroad via Liberia.


In one of the most notorious cases, former Liberian warlord Charles Taylor was found guilty of supporting the rebels in exchange for diamonds mined by slave labor.


And the district where the 706-carat diamond was discovered is where US-Belgian businessman Michel Desaedeleer, accused of enslavement and diamond trafficking during Sierra Leone’s civil war, is alleged to have committed his crimes.

He died in jail in September before he could stand trial.

That gem is second in size only to the Cullinan diamond which was unearthed in South Africa in 1905, at 3,106 carats uncut, according to the Cape Town Diamond Museum.

The Cullinan was cut into several gems, including two set into the scepter and crown of the British Crown Jewels.


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