via Cops uncover $140k gem cache in car – NewZimbabwe 23/01/2016
TWO illegal diamond dealers hid $139,600 worth of diamonds inside a car seat, it was reported on Friday.
It took a team of five police detectives more than an hour to find the diamonds after Never Chikwenha and Abbas Macky’s car was stopped at a tollgate in Ruwa.
The two were “well-known” diamond dealers in Mutare, which is close to the Marange diamond fields.
The development comes just a day after Zimbabwe’s central bank chief John Mangudya complained that authorities “don’t know what has been exported” in terms of diamonds from the country.
Chikwenha and Macky appeared in court in Harare earlier this week. They have been granted bail.
Diamonds were first discovered in Marange in 2006, prompting a diamond rush.
A military clampdown and government takeover of the fields in late 2008 has not stopped smugglers, with authorities admitting the leakages are probably significant.
There are frequent reports of arrests of diamond smugglers from Mutare.
Chikwenha and Macky were reportedly on their way to Harare to sell the gems.
Detectives were given a tip-off that the pair had diamonds in their car when they left Mutare, but waited until they got to the Ruwa tollgate to pounce because at that particular gate there is “nowhere to run”.
Last week it was reported that a Lebanese diamond dealer from Mutare had assaulted a gardener who stole a diamond from his home.
The gem appeared to have been stored illegally at the house.
The dealer is alleged to have boasted that he “wouldn’t be arrested in Zimbabwe”, a possible reference to powerful political connections he has made.
Mangudya last Thursday called for much more transparency and accountability in the diamond industry.