556 carat diamond stolen in Kono

…nine in Police net

By Abu Bakarr Kargbo

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Serra Leone Police Force is currently having in its custody nine suspects helping with the investigations in relation to the alleged stealing of a 556-carat diamond in Kono District. The suspects, mostly illicit miners and dealers, were arrested after the police discovered that they have the said precious mineral in their possession that they had attempted to smuggle on several times but to no success. 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 mining site belongs to a popular Businessman, Alhaji Alpha Kallon who was awarded a mining license on 27th February 2020. The Business Tycoon is said to have started operations in his 206.12 acres leased land after receiving his license from the National Minerals Agency. 

Prior to the suspension of mining activities in his mining plot due to the heavy downpour of rains, little did Alhaji Kallon knew he had given an opportunity to some criminals to take in their local mining instruments to make good use of the piles of gravels left by the legal miners. 

Edward Kellie, one of Mr. Kallon’s senior workers remarked that he was shocked to learn from the police in Kono that the said gem had been stolen. 

A Police report states that one of the suspects had started making a confessional statement, pointing out that he knew where he buried the diamond for safekeeping. Amongst the nine persons in police custody is a local Diamond Dealer, Alhaji Karba who was arrested in Makeni City late last week. He is said to have been approached by the illicit miners to buy the precious gem some time ago. Whether he was involved directly or indirectly in helping the illicit miners to smuggle the diamond out of Sierra Leone is something the police would have to ascertain.         

It is very clear that the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) imposes 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.

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. Investigations continue. 

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