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Tanzania to ‘nationalise’ diamonds seized from Petra – report

13 september 2017
Tanzania is set to “nationalise” diamonds it said are worth $29.5 million belonging to Petra Diamonds after it accused the firm of under-declaring its mineral exports.
Reuters reports that the diamonds were seized at the main airport in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam on August 31 as they were being exported by Williamson Diamonds Ltd to Antwerp, Belgium.
Petra owns a 75 percent stake in Williamson Diamonds, while the remaining shares were held by the government.
“While Williamson Diamonds Ltd declared in its documentation that the value of the diamonds was $14.798 million, a fresh valuation done by the government established that the actual value of the diamonds is $29.5million,” Tanzania’s finance and planning ministry was quoted as saying in a statement.
“Among the legal action to be taken include the nationalisation of all the diamonds seized after it was established that there was cheating involved in declaring the actual value of the minerals.”
However, Petra said Monday that it had conducted all operations related to the Williamson mine in a ”transparent manner and in full compliance with legislations”.
Tanzania said it had ordered a fresh sorting and valuation of the diamonds to ascertain if the actual value was declared and all relevant taxes were paid.
The government also ordered a criminal investigation to be launched against all officials involved in declaring the value of the diamonds and issuing export permits.
Tanzanian president John Magufuli ordered last Thursday a review of Petra Diamonds’ contract.
Tanzania claimed it was likely losing more than $46 million each year from the export of under-cleared diamonds.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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