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Sierra Leone: 709 carat uncut ‘Peace diamond’ sold for $6.5m in New York auction

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A 709 carat uncut diamond discovered in March 2017 by a group of miners in Sierra Leone fetched $6.5m at a New York auction on Monday (December 4, 2017).

The stone was found by one pastor Emmanuel Momoh in Koryardu, located in the country’s eastern Kono district. It was the biggest diamond in the country’s history and the 14th largest ever found in the world.

In an interview, the pastor defended the decision to handover the diamond to the government instead of selling it to middlemen. According to him, the community stands to lose if the middlemen were involved.

“We lack a lot of things. We don’t have a good road network, we don’t have better schools, or drinking water,” Momoh said. The auction was managed by Rapaport Group, a network of diamond companies.

“There’s a reason God gave these diamonds to the poorest people in the world and made the richest people want them. This is Tikun Olam (Hebrew for correcting the world), this is making the world a better place,” Martin Rapaport, chairman of Rapaport Group said in October this year.

A journalist in the country reported that the $6.5m price was lower than how much an earlier auction had priced the diamond.

“Sierra Leone’s 709-carat diamond auction in New York was a real bummer!! The Freetown auction came up with $7.07 million. Despite huge amounts spent on insuring the stone to take it abroad and all the other expenses, it was sold for $6.5 million,” Umaru Fofano wrote in a Twitter post.

The December 4 auction was the second attempt by the government to sell the gem known as the “Peace Diamond”, it had earlier in May 2017, rejected the highest bid of $7.8 million at an initial auction in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown.

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EFF demands the sacking of South Africa’s finance minister Nene.

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South Africa’s political players are headed for a collision course over the fate of the finance minister, who the Treasury on Tuesday said is traveling to Indonesia for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting.



Pressure has been piling on finance minister Nhlanhla Nene to resign, following his disclosure to the state-capture inquiry commission, that he had met the Gupta brothers between 2010 and 2013.

The Business Day on Monday reported that Nene had asked president Cyril Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties as finance minister.

Ramaphosa’s office responded and said they were not aware of Nene’s request.

And on Tuesday, Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane said the finance minister was expected to arrive in Indonesia on Wednesday.

Nene is also expected to read the mid-term budget later this month.

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The news that Nene is continuing with his duties is likely to anger opposition supporters including the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), whose leader, Julius Malema on Monday asked Ramaphosa to sack Nene.

In a written letter to Ramaphosa, Malema argued that the country, whose economy is in recession, had very serious challenges that needed a credible finance minister to address them.

‘‘Public servants at all spheres and levels of government will have no obligation to responsibly manage state fiscal resources under a compromised minister of finance,’‘ Malema said.

He then added that that Nene can no longer inspire much needed confidence to revive the economy.

‘‘The Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS)‚ which is supposed to be a statement to build confidence amongst all important economic role players‚ cannot‚ and should not‚ be delivered by a minister who was part of the Gupta criminal syndicate.”

For the EFF, Nene’s position as finance minister is no longer tenable and they are determined to win what they are now calling a battle.

Malema had threatened on Sunday that streets protests might be organised to demand for the removal of Nene as finance minister.

The Gupta brothers are accused of using their friendship with former president Jacob Zuma to influence government decisions including unfairly winning state contrcats.

Both Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.

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South Africa: Ex-minister reveals Zuma’s Gupta deals.

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South Africa’s Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on Wednesday he was fired by former president Jacob Zuma for refusing to approve contracts that would financially benefit the Gupta family, friends of Zuma accused of corruption.



Nene, who was giving testimony at a judicial inquiry into influence-peddling, said the main reason he was he was sacked was for rejecting a proposed plan to build a fleet of nuclear power plants. The project could have cost up to $100 billion.

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Zuma and the Gupta family deny allegations they colluded to inappropriately divert state funds.

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