Presidential Investigative Team Declares Ministry of Mines’ Verdict Null and Void In 53.3 Carat Diamond Case
PAYNESVILLE – Just a day after the Assistant Minister of Mines at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Emmanuel T.T. Swen released his Investigative findings into the controversial 53.38 carats diamond saga, in which he challenged the public to disprove his report that the diamond does not belong to Weasua, the authorities of the Weasua Township have distanced themselves from his findings.
The locals said the diamond in question was not found at any mining site within their township, rather it belongs to Smith Town.
“Let me say the truth, yaa… that diamond belongs to Smith Town not Weasua. Some ministers want to spoil the CDC government. When I die, I will not eat Food, I will not drink. Minister Emmanuel T.T Swen lied to the public,” said Weasua’s Mining Chairman, Mr. Kadala Kawah.
The investigation shows that the controversial 53.38 carats diamond was found in Smith Town, Gbarma Mining District in Gbarpolu County.
The diamond in question was found by a fisherman, who is also an artisanal miner in Gbarpolu County called Mohammed Kamara, or Junior” or “Iron Jacket” on this year’s Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan.
But since then, the proper ownership of the diamond has not been established. There have been acrimonious claims and counter claims by people at the center of the saga – the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the two parties that are each claiming the precious stone.
One of the groups is led by Fatu Nyumah, a veteran diamond dealer, who claimed that it was at her Diamond Creek, called Claim #9, Iron Jacket found the gem. Claim #9 is located near Smith Town. She is being backed by Fallah Kamara, President of the Liberia Gold and Diamond Brokers Association and a member of the Board of Directors of Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (LEITI).
The other group is headed by Iron Jacket himself, along with some diamond dealers who are claiming that the diamond was found at their creek, Claim #12 located in Weasua Township.
The mining law of Liberia states that when a diamond is found at a legally operated diamond mine, the miner or miners who found the gem is/are entitled to their share, as well as the owner/owners of the Diamond Creek/mining site. Then the government gets 3 percent of the money received from the sale.
The case was brought before the Ministry of Mines and Energy, and after a brief investigation, the Assistant Minister of Mines, Swen, ruled in favor of Iron Jacket. Swen, in an interview with K-News said, he derived at the decision because only Iron Jacket can tell where he found the diamond since there was nobody around when he found it. Swen said his investigation found out that after Iron Jacket found the diamond, it took several days before he told the townspeople in Smith Town, where he resides.
Further backing his decision, Swen added that since there was nobody around when Iron Jacket found the precious stone, only him (Iron Jacket), alone, can state the exact location.
But Fallah Kamara, serving as spokesperson of Fatu Nyumah, who is in her mid-70s, said Iron Jacket only works at Claim #9, and not Claim 12. Kamara claimed that Iron Jacket usually works at the mine and it was on one of his regular routines that he found the precious stone. He later told the townspeople that he found the diamond at Ma Fatu’s Claim#9 and the news spread like wildfire. People from the town informed Ma Fatu who was in Monrovia at the time about the “good news.”
Kamara said he was informed by a group of people including Manju Kamara (no relation), former president of the Brokers Association, that Iron Jacket found the mineral at Claim #9.
Kamara said he instructed Manju and the team to report to the Ministry who has jurisdiction over mineral matters to ensure the right things are done for all parties to benefit.
But when Manju and his people brought “Iron Jacket” to Monrovia, they took him to an unknown place and kept him away from his family for days. There, they brainwashed him to lie that he found the diamond at their (Manju and others) Creek, Kamara stated.
He added that he alerted several people including Montserrado County Senator Saah Joseph who exerted pressure on Manju and others to turn over “Iron Jacket”. And when they did, Iron jacket “changed his tongue” lied that he found the gem at Claim #12 and not #9.
When contacted, Manjue did not respond to K-News’ inquiry to get his side of the story.
Kamara accused Asst. Minister Swen of being bribed by Manju and others to rule in their favor.
The Ministry of Mines’ ruling sparked several protests with residents of Smith Town and supporters of Fatu Nyumah, owner of Claim #9, calling on President George Weah to prevail on the Ministry to do the right thing to ensure that the elderly woman get her share of the diamond.
Ministry’s Finding is non and void
Early Wednesday morning on June 6, a team of joint security from the Justice Ministry including: LNP, NSA, DEA, NFSA and AFL headed by Col. Fafini Boakai Kamara alongside Journalists and Local authorities visited the Claims #12 “F” survey along the Lofa River where Mohammed Kamara Jr. (Iron Jacket) found the diamond.
The team later went to Weasua Township to continue their inquiry in the diamond saga. There, Weasua authority and citizens confirmed the diamond belongs to Smith Town.
The Mining Chairman, Mr. Kadala Kawah and the local authorities and citizens of Weasua, who welcomed the investigative team, publicly told the team that the 53.38 diamond in question does not belong to them.
According to the Mining Chairman, the founder of the controversial diamond, Mohammed Kamara Jr., known as Iron jacket, had never mined in Weasua Mining district.
Meanwhile, the head of the team, Col. Kamara declared the previous finding from the Ministry of Mines and Energy non and void and said, only the Special Investigative Team’s finding will be recommended to the President to ensure justice is served.
“We will not allow anyone to undermine or destabilize the National security or peace for their own self benefit. We will arrest and prosecute anyone who wants to take advantage of this citation to cause chaos,” Col. Kamara assured the citizens of Gbarpolu County.
Daniel Theo Cole