This ruling is an egregious affront to the ordinary citizens of Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the world; and, specifically to the long suffering multi-ethnic, indigenous peoples of Kono District, which is the least developed region in the country.
Koidu Holdings is headed by Jan Joubert, a South African mercenary from Executive Outcomes, who formed the company at the end of the protracted civil war in Sierra Leone.
The then Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) allegedly promised payment to these fighters-for-hire with illicit “blood diamonds” from Kono, that had fuelled and funded both sides of the devastating war in our country.
Tiffany & Co., a prestigious international diamond retailer, has recently deferred a USD 50 million loan that it provided Octea/Koidu Holdings to initiate kimberlite mining, and is contracted to buy up to 60% of Octea/Koidu Holdings’ raw diamonds from the embattled region of Kono.
The Kono District Descendants Worldwide (KDDW) movement and Concerned Konos Inc. would like the world to know that many of the beautiful, shiny, encased rocks in the company’s luxury boutiques in first world cities are stolen, tax-free, “blood diamonds” from the soil of Kono and its impoverished people.
That a foreign based mining company wholly owned by an Israeli billionaire, Benny Steinmetz, can operate in collaboration with post-war mercenaries from South Africa without a license and tax-free, in one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, defies all national and international legal norms and ethics governing the global mining trade, as well as common sense.
This court ruling in Sierra Leone exposes Tiffany & Co’s apparent complicity – whether intentional or not – in alleged official corruption, involving these mercenaries, Mr. Steinmetz and traditional authorities within Kono District who are the supposed custodians of our homeland, as well as the highest level of the government of Sierra Leone.