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Tanzania says to nationalise diamond consignment seized

By on September 10, 2017

Tanzania said on Saturday it planned to nationalise diamonds whose value it put at $29.5 million belonging to a mine majority owned by London-listed Petra Diamonds after it accused the miner of under-declaring its mineral exports.

The diamonds were seized at the main airport in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam on Aug. 31 as they were being exported by Williamson Diamonds Ltd to Antwerp, Belgium.

Petra owns 75 percent of the stake in Williamson Diamonds, with the remaining shares held by the government. The Williamson mine accounted for 18 percent of Petra’s revenue last year.

The statement said Tanzania’s Finance and Planning Minister, Philip Mpango, had also ordered a criminal investigation to be launched against all officials involved in declaring the value of the diamonds and issuing export permits.

The minister also ordered the arrest of employees of the diamond mine and public officials involved in the shipment.

“Tanzania is likely losing more than $46 million each year from the export of under-cleared diamonds through this airport,” Mpango said in the statement.

Magufuli on Thursday ordered a review of Petra Diamonds’ contract and asked senior public officials to resign over the outcome of an investigation into the mining sector.

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