The following article is published courtesy of: Israeli Diamond Industry Portal
Intellectual property: IDI
The mysterious disappearance of a 14,931 carats diamonds consignment, worth nearly $3 million, from the Oliver Tambo International Airport in South Africa, has authorities baffled, the East African reported.
The diamond parcel, which belongs to Williamson Diamonds of Tanzania, vanished from the Oliver Tambo International Airport en route to Belgium in October 2009, but the theft was kept secret by the Tanzanian Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Minerals.
The decision to keep the incident under wraps, said the report, stemmed from fears the incident would have a negative impact on the royalties earned by the government, which has a 25% stake in the firm. The remaining 75% of Williamson Diamonds is owned by Petra Diamonds Ltd.
While kept from the media, the government did, however, report the theft to the Kimberly Process Secretariate. A letter from Tanzania’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals to the Kimberley Process, dated November 17, said: “We would like to bring to your attention that a diamond parcel from Tanzania, which was sealed on October 19, 2009 weighing 14,931.35 carats with an estimated value of $2,880,257.42 was stolen on October 22, 2009 whilst in transit through O.R. Tambo international airport, Johannesburg en route to Belgium.
“(…) This parcel was exported by the Williamson Diamonds Limited (WDL) company to Antwerp, Belgium and followed all the procedures under KPCS. The theft has been reported to the South African Police Services Organized Crime Unit on October 22, 2009 and efforts were made to try to recover the diamond parcel but until now they have not been recovered.
“We take this opportunity to inform you so that the KP family could be informed and cautioned to be aware of the stolen diamonds produced from the WDL mine at Mwadui, Shinyanga, Tanzania.”
South African Police divisional commissioner for Detective Services and Crime Intelligence Raymond Lalla, confirmed the investigation was ongoing, and assisted by Interpol.