Saturday, July 13, 2024

Kebonang clears De Beers of “under table” diamond dealings

The Minister responsible for minerals Sadique Kebonang has absolved De Beers Global Sightholder Sales (DBGSS) from importing and exporting rough diamond under the table.

Kebonang was speaking in Parliament this week after a debate erupted between Members of Parliament (MP) relating to the country’s rough diamonds register.

“It is unfortunate this debate was discussed sometime during my absence but I will like to tell you every diamond sold outside the country is registered with the Department of Mines and Diamond Hub…. the associated statistics reported to the Kimberley process every three months annually,” Kebonang parried, answering supplementary questions from Specially Elected Mephato Reatile.

Reatile wanted appraisal following suggestions that DBGSS was selling some Botswana diamonds under dubious circumstances and standards.

“The evidence is untested and I will like to tell you all diamonds are registered,” Kebonang emphasized.

Gabane-Mmankgodi MP Pius Mokgware who claimed to have learnt from first-hand information hinted of a tip-off from the diamond cutting and polishing workers who are familiar with the operations of DBGSS to know about the diamond register that is not followed to the letter.

Among the regulatory and control measures of standards adopted by the Botswana Government and DBGSS include the Kimberley Process subjecting the exports and imports of rough diamonds to the KP regulatory framework.

“All rough diamond exports and imports are accompanied by KP certificates,” Kebonang further reassured the doubting Parliament.

A partnership between De Beers and Botswana Government, DBGSS relocated from London to Gaborone 15 years ago to transform the country into a global rough diamond Hub. DGBSS’s sales functions were expected to boost the country’s economy mainly under the local beneficiation process.

Besides banking, tourism and catering, the relocation was expected to also see the security sector benefit from servicing DBGSS and its clients amongst others- catalyzing the economic growth linkages with the rest of the economy.


Read this week's paper