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Sierra Leone News: NMA hides “Peace Diamond” expenses

Despite boasting about the transparency of the process, National Minerals Agency (NMA) and the GoSL did not disclose expenditures incurred to sell the 709-carat diamond. The expenses to sell the diamond including travel costs, hotel bills, lawyers, auctioneers, etc., were deducted from the total sale price before calculating Momoh’s 40% share. Momoh received 40% of the net price of the diamond.
The remaining 60% of the net value of the diamond went directly to the government. The agency said the proceeds would be shared according to the dictates of the Mines and Minerals Act.
The National Minerals Agency (NMA) has announced that Pastor Emmanuel Momoh, the man who found the 709-carat diamond, has received 40% of the funds remaining after expenses from the sale diamond on December 4, 2017. The “peace diamond” sold for $6.5 million USD through the Rappaport Auction House in New York. The sale process took 8-months and the diamond travelled over three continents, Africa, Europe and North America.
The NMA, which oversaw the sale of the diamond said to be one of the largest precious stones to be discovered in the country, said Emmanuel Momoh held no licence, in contravention of the Mineral’s Act. All expenses from the sale process were deducted from the $6.5 million USD.
The Director-General of the minerals regulatory agency,
Sahr Wonday, said, “Technically, he (Momoh) did not own the diamond. The diamond belongs to the government of Sierra Leone.” Ninety-nine per cent of artisanal miners in Sierra Leone operate without licences, according to NMA.
A representative of Momoh, who is currently in Ghana attending a religious conference, Mohamed Turay, said, “Momoh is satisfied with his 40% share of the diamond money.” Momoh was not available for comment.
The NMA boss said the 406-carat diamond discovered by Meya Mining Company will pay 15% royalty tax to the government of Sierra Leone, which was bought for $16 million USD by the same individual who bought the 709 carats diamond.
“We will ensure that proceeds of the diamond are spent towards the development of the area the diamonds were found,” Sahr Wonday said.
SB/8/1/18
By Saidu Bah
Tuesday January 09, 2018.

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