He said a credible international marketing and sales agent, Rapaport Group, has been contracted by the Government of Sierra Leone to market the diamond and that the deadline for the sale of the diamond is mid December this year.
The diamond which has been code-named ‘Peace Diamond’ because it is the second largest diamond ever found in Sierra Leone according to Timbo is directly going to benefit the community where it was found and the country as a whole after sale.
He said Rapaport Group is an international network of companies providing added-value services that support the development of ethical, transparent, competitive and efficient diamond and jewellery markets.
Speaking on reasons why the delay on the sale of the diamond, Presidential Spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay explained that government through the NMA is dedicated to ensuring transparency in the sales process of the diamond.
He said the diamond came at a time when the country use to be associated with all the negativities when it comes to its mineral resources including diamonds.
Bayraytay explained further that: “After the May auction of the diamond at the Bank Complex in Freetown which no buyer was able to meet government’s reserve price which was set by government valuers, the Diamond Council from Belgium and Pastor Emmanuel A. Momoh’s independent valuers, the Pastor advised government that the diamond be taken out of Sierra Leone for sale so that it will fetch more money”.
He said there were security challenges around the diamond, especially to move it from Sierra Leone to the international market and that there were also processes of reaching legal agreements with the various groups interested in dealing the diamond on behalf of Sierra Leone.
Mr. Bayraytay went on to say they contacted the Belgium Diamond Council and they received a whole lot of groups expressing interest in marketing the diamond on behalf of the Sierra Leone government.
At the end of the entire process he stated, it was the Rapaport Group that succeeded in getting the contract and government went into legal agreement with them for the process to commence.
Quiet recently, Bayraytay furthered, government secured visas for both Pastor Momoh and Chief Saquee to join the team to Belgium to deliver the diamond to Rapaport and that the diamond was finally safely handed over to Rapaport.
He encourage miners, especially artisanal miners not to sell their diamonds in smuggle but to go through the right channel by using the government channel.
Also speaking was Pastor Momoh who confirmed that he has always been involved in all the processes so far for the diamond to be sold.
“I have always been actively and personally involved in all the sales process of the diamond and no single move has ever been taken in the process by government without my consent.” Pastor Momoh noted.
He said he was part of the Israel and Belgium trips for the sale of the diamond and that he was also fortunate to meet with the management of the Rapaport Group which he expressed so much trust and confidence in to carry out the sales process.
“I am deeply satisfied with the entire sales process so far and I want to use this meeting as an opportunity to thank the Government of Sierra Leone for a very transparent and credible sales process.” Pastor Momoh concluded.
Chief Paul Ngaba Saquee V, who also spoke at the meeting confirmed that the process has been very much transparent so far and that himself and the Pastor have always been deeply involved in every move taken by NMA and government to sell the gem.
He said there is a reason why most Sierra Leoneans are very eager to know the way about of the diamond. Years back he went on diamonds have been found and turned to stones over night and that diamonds have also not been able to account for any development in the country.
However, he assured the public that despite the diamond solely belongs to Pastor Momoh, they will join government to ensure that after its sales, what due the people of Sierra Leone will definitely benefit them.