May 22, 2018
By Mohamed Massaquoi
Vice President Alhaji Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has informed miners from Nimikoro Chiefdom, Kono District, and the media that a gem which was recently presented to the government of Sierra Leone as diamond by miners turned out to be a mere stone after going through rigorous testing by the National Mineral Agency and Department of Precious Mineral Trading in Freetown.
Dr. Jalloh made the disclosure at the conference hall of the Vice President office, where the five miners plus Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Minister of Information and Communications and some chiefdom authorities from Nimikoro Chiefdom gathered to witness the validation of the stone.
He said the government of Sierra Leone has emphasised the importance of transparency and accountability, hence the decision to invite journalists and members of the public to witness the testing of the stone by the Director of National Minerals Agency and his personnel.
“The presentation of the stone to the government clearly shows that our miners are trustworthy because they always feel free to come forward with whatever gem they get. This would have been a benefit not only to the miners but also to the government and people of sierra Leone,” he said, adding that the test was carried out in front of the audience for proper accountability.
On his part, Director of National Minerals Agency, Sahr Wonday, said they used an instrument called Presidium Duotester to test the stone and prove its authenticity.
He said the instrument is widely used to test diamonds and it is the same testing instrument dealers use in Antwerp, Belgium, in order to prove that a particular subsistence is a diamond or not.
“The first test involved the use of a real diamond and the result was positive. The second test was carried out on the stone which was alleged to be diamond brought to government and the result was negative. Both tests were carried out in the full view of the owners of the said stone which was claimed to be diamond,” he said, adding that the people of Sierra Leone should be notified that based on the test conducted the stone brought to the government by Ezekiel Ansumana was not a diamond.
Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, emphasised the need for government to be transparent and accountable to the people of Sierra Leone.
He said a lot of claims have been made on social media platforms that a bigger diamond had again been discovered in Kono and handed over to government.
“We have all of those who came with the stone at this press conference. We want the media to inform the public as to what is happening today at the Vice President’s office,” he said, adding that his government will continue to exemplify good governance, transparency and accountability to the people of Sierra Leone.
Leader of the miners, Ezekiel Ansumana, said he presented the stone to the government because he wanted Sierra Leoneans and the people of Nimekoro to benefit from the proceeds.
He however express disappointment that the stone was verified as not a true diamond, thus calling on chiefdom residents to accept the outcome.