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709 carats diamond saga…

Report says five people were the direct miners

April 26, 2107 By Regina Pratt

A National Civil Society Forum Report has disclosed that the 709.48 carats diamond, which was discovered on the 16th March, 2017, was discovered by five miners.

It could be recalled that around mid-day on the 16th March, 2017, Sierra Leone came to the limelight when a star shiny 709.48 carats diamond was discovered at Koryadu Village, Tankoro chiefdom, Kono District, by a Deeper Life Ministry Pastor, Emmanuel Aiah Momoh.

The diamond, which was presented to the government, was discovered by Sahr Lebbie-the village chief, Saffea Lebbie, Komba Johnbull, Tamba Changa and Sahr Bindi excluding the team leader, Komba Nyandemo in Koryadu village, Tankoro chiefdom, Kono District.

The report, which was launched in a meeting held with stakeholders on Sunday 23rd April, 2017, to ascertain correct information on the ownership of the 709 carats diamond, says that the team was supported by Pastor Emmanuel Aiah Momoh.

“These artisanal miners unearthed the diamond while extracting gravel from an unexcavated land that was once abandoned. Pastor Emmanuel Aiah Momoh financed the operations of the miners with daily sustenance and mining equipment,” the report stated.

 It noted that the villagers said they had an internal mining agreement that out of every proceed from a mining activity conducted in their licenced plot, 30% of the profit, after all taxes and royalties deducted, should  go  directly to the indigene on whose allocated portion the mining was carried out.

They also agreed that the said indigene should then pay back 10% of that amount to the village.

The report also stated that findings from the meeting at the village, among others, disclosed that the piece of land where the diamond was found is located in an area called Toinejafeh, which in Kono parlance means ‘source of profit.’

“The plot had a valid licence which gives the mineral rights to the licence holder. The people noted that they adopted a system whereby the villagers put their resources together and licenced all diamond rich lands in their community,” the report stated.

The report also stated that the licence bears the name of an aged man, Saffea Senesie, who was the Town Chief at the time the plot was licenced.

“Although the licence bears his name, it is the common understanding that the ownership remains with the villagers and on demand, portions of the land are allocated to only the thoroughbred descendants of the village,” the report stated.

The report further noted that the team of National Civil Society Forum, called Pastor Emmanuel Momoh, the financier, and requested his own side of the story, but he replied that he had his diamond in safer hands.

“A cross section of the Forum members also conducted a fact-finding visit to the office of the National Minerals Agency in Kono, and spoke with Mr. Isaac Kallon, who represented the Agency and the district Mines Engineer, Mr. Sheku Lieed Ishmail Sheriff,” the report noted.

The report stated that Mr. Kallon said he only heard of the stone through social media when it was placed on the President’s desk.

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