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Zim probes acquittal of Israeli national in $2,5mln diamond case – report

23 february 2021
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Image credit: Ichigo121212

Zimbabwe's Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) is investigating the acquittal of an Israel pilot and diamond dealer, Shmuel Kainan Klein in a magistrate's court in 2012 after he was found with 8, 486 carats of rough diamonds worth $2,5 million, according to the local media.
Klein was charged with dealing in precious minerals and violating the Immigration Act following his arrest on March 17, 2012, at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare on his way to South Africa.
The presiding magistrate acquitted Klein after his lawyer tendered a document written in Arabic as 'proof' that the accused was licensed to deal in diamonds.
An unnamed source cited by The Herald said that there were queries over the prosecution team's willingness to admit the document.
"The document written in a foreign language suspected to be Arabic was admitted into the record without it having been authenticated in terms of the applicable law in such cases or being translated into English, which is the official court language," said the nameless source.
"It is understood that the trial magistrate Mr Clever Tsikwa admitted into the record the foreign document purportedly as a diamond license, notwithstanding the fact that it appeared to be written in Arabic.
"The document was also tendered by the defense lawyer and admitted into the record as a photocopy. The prosecution did not object to this anomaly and the authenticity of the document remains a mystery."
The head of SACU Tabani Vusa Mpofu acknowledged that investigations were being instituted over the matter, but refused to disclose details of the investigation.
"It is premature to disclose details of such an investigation. I cannot comment on that case as of now," he was quoted as saying.
Klein was not given his diamonds back following the acquittal.
His lawyers were allegedly making efforts to get the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, which held the diamonds, to release them.

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