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556-carat diamond investigated …Police accused of compromise

By Abu Bakarr Kargbo

 

IGP Sovula… saving the image of the police force

The Executive Management Board of the Sierra Leone Police Force will find itself in a very funny position should it fail to carry out an order from State House to thoroughly investigate the alleged 556-carat diamond that he been a subject of investigation for over three months. The diamond issue, which some top Police Officers have been accused of trying to compromise, has now come to the public domain to an extent that even the President and Officials at the Mines Ministry and National Minerals Agencies are now paying keen attention to see a positive outcome. Sources say the Inspector General of Police, Ambrose Michael Sovula is having sleepless nights of late after he received directives from State House that the diamond investigation must be treated with all seriousness and its outcome must be made known to the powers that be.

The Police have stated that it has six suspects in their custody helping with the investigations and that statements have been obtained from them at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID). But what the police are yet to confirm is whether they are planning to investigate their officers at the Tankoro Police Division in Kono District that are accused of trying to sweep the matter under the carpet since the diamond was discovered some three months ago.

A report states that some top police officers in Kono have been allegedly aiding the smuggling of the gem through a diamond dealer, Alhaji Karba, who was arrested in Makeni last week and he is now in police custody. Apparently they never knew that the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) had imposed an extensive requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free’ and prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate trade in the World Market. “Such diamonds entering the world market must have the blessings of the government of Sierra Leone before it is sold in any part of the world,” a Mines Ministry Official remarked, and added that the Ministry has been briefed about the said diamond and it is working with the Sierra Leone Police to see that it come out from its hiding place.

The said diamond, according to Police sources at the Tankoro Police Division in Kono, was found about three months ago by illicit miners in Tongbodu Village at Tankoro Chiefdom in Kono District. A report states that it is the same environment where a 777-carat diamond was found by Pastor Emmanuel Momoh in 2018.

The legal site owner, according to the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, was awarded a mining license on 27th February 2020 and that mining started in the said 206.12 acres leased land after the license was issued by the National Minerals Agency.

The illegal miners, some of whom are now in police custody, reportedly discovered the diamond when washing some stock piles of gravel left by the site owner in the middle of the rainy season.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is the process established in 2003 to prevent “conflict diamonds” from entering the mainstream rough diamond market by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 55/56 following recommendations in the Fowler Report. The process was set up “to ensure that diamond purchases were not financing violence by rebel movements and their allies seeking to undermine legitimate governments.

 

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