Sierra Leone pas­tor finds 706-carat di­a­mond

New Straits Times - - World -

ZAYNA SAADEH, Mus­lim im­mi­grant

MON­DAY, MARCH 20, 2017 FREE­TOWN: A pas­tor work­ing in the mines of east­ern Sierra Leone has un­earthed a 706-carat di­a­mond, a dis­cov­ery that ex­perts said on Thurs­day could be the 10th largest stone ever found.

It was ex­tracted by Em­manuel Mo­moh, one of thou­sands who seek their for­tunes in the in­for­mal min­ing sec­tor that dom­i­nates the di­a­mond-rich Kono re­gion.

As a self-em­ployed miner with a gov­ern­ment per­mit, Mo­moh is en­ti­tled to the pro­ceeds of any fu­ture sale, except four per cent the gov­ern­ment takes for val­u­a­tion and ex­port, plus an un­de­ter­mined level of in­come tax.

The di­a­mond was pre­sented to Pres­i­dent Ernest Bai Koroma on Wed­nes­day be­fore be­ing locked in the cen­tral bank vault here. It awaits an of­fi­cial val­u­a­tion un­der the Kim­ber­ley Process, which cer­ti­fies diamonds as “con­flict­free”.

United States-based di­a­mond ex­pert Paul Zimnisky said the stone could rank “be­tween the 10th and 15th largest gem-diamonds ever re­cov­ered”. AFP

PIC REUTERS

The gem­stone was dis­cov­ered in the di­a­mond-rich Kono re­gion of east­ern Sierra Leone.

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