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Gov’t rejects bids for 709.41 uncut diamond

Says it’s below reserve price 

May 12, 2017 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

reject

Pastor Momoh…

The government of Sierra Leone, through the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, yesterday rejected bids tendered by potential buyers for the 709.41 uncut diamond that was discovered by Pastor Emmanuel A. Momoh in Koryardu village, Tankoro chiefdom Kono district, on March 14, 2017.

The ceremony which took place at the Bank Complex in Kingtom, attracted local and international journalists, bidders, government officials, Paramount Chief of the chiefdom, and family members of the owner of the diamond.

The gem, weighing 709.41 carats, is the second largest precious stone ever found in Sierra Leone, and put on the market for international competitive bidding.

Five bidders were announced among them are, Raydiam B.V.B.A with $7,077,777, H.M Diamonds-$5,200,000, Staff Bico tendered $5,136,360, Diamond Creations $2,000,000 and OFEA Diamonds with $3,736,000.

The Director General of the National Minerals Agency, (NMA) Sahr Wonday told newsmen that the bids submitted were below government’s reserve price.

“I regret to announce that none of these bids met government’s reserve price. Similar bidding exercise would be re-opened in due course and the public would be informed accordingly. We encourage all today’s bidders to review their bids and participate in the next round,” he said.

Earlier, Abdul Ignosi Koroma, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources said the country has a long history of mining dating far back in the 1930s, but that it was the first time the country was putting a diamond of that size on international bidding in the country.

He said the event was a manifestation of government’s commitment to the principles of transparency and accountability in the management of the country’s mineral wealth.

 He noted that the government was aware of the mysterious stories surrounding previous diamonds of similar magnitude, hence President Koroma gave instructions for the diamonds to be sold inside Sierra Leone by international tender.

“Our primary focus of today’s event is to ensure that government gets the best possible price for the diamond. We are aware of other issues surrounding ownership, percentage, etc but these are issues that will be addressed by the laws of this country in a fair and transparent manner,” he said.

He said the owners or owner of the gem acted as true patriots and brought the diamond to the government and that the proceeds would be utilized for the benefits of all Sierra Leone.

However, Pastor Momoh commended the government for refusing the bids. He said government has the expertise.

“We believe we would get what we want on the next competitive bidding process. I have confidence in the government. It has displayed the highest level of transparency in this process,” he said.

Meanwhile, presidential spokesperson, Abdulai Bayraytay, said the issue of ‘blood diamond and diamond turn stone’ has been the mantra of many in the country, but their regime was different.

“Our demonstration of transparency is very profound under the leadership of President Koroma and that whatever the government accrues from the proceeds of the diamond would be announced and later paid into the consolidated revenue fund,” he said.