Diamond dealers held with gems in mouths

via Diamond dealers held with gems in mouths – New Zimbabwe 02/08/2015

MUTARE: Three diamond dealers were recently arrested by police detectives while trying to illegally sell the gems at a local lodge.

The precious minerals were valued at $20,000.

Richmore Machena, 30, of Muchena village under Chief Mutasa; Shawn Mapa, 35, of Hobhouse and Augustine Mwashita, 29, of Adalid Mutare have since appeared before Mutare magistrate Sekai Chiwundura facing charges of possessing 20, 51 carats of diamonds without a licence.

They were each granted $250 bail.

Prosecutor Sherperd Chavarika told the court that sometime in May this year, police detectives from Minerals Unit and Border Control received a tip off that there was a diamond syndicate in the city which was looking for potential foreign buyers.

The detectives set a trap and assigned one officer to act as an agent of a foreign buyer. They then arranged with the dealers to meet the ‘buyers’ in Harare.

Mwashita drove to Harare in the company of two sisters, Lora and Chido, and promised to bring back the consignment in few days.

The detectives maintained communication with Mwashita. However, he later changed his mind and insisted that the buyers come to Mutare to complete the transaction.

The cops then set-up another trap using $3000 in serialised $50 notes. One detective, acting as an agent, agreed to meet Mwashita at Vumba Lodge, just outside Mutare.

Mwashita arrived at the lodge on June 30, driving a navy blue Mercedes Benz in the company of Machena and Mapa.

Mwashita insisted on carrying out the transaction with the buyer directly. He was led to the purported buyer`s room where he revealed that his colleagues had some diamonds but wanted to deal with the buyers directly.

Together with the ‘agent’, they went back to the car where Mapa and Muchena released some of the precious stones from their mouth. The total number of pieces released was seven and they received $3,000 trap money.

The trio indicated that they had more gems in their vehicle. Mwashita handed over Mapa $850 before requesting more stones. The gems were released and they charged the buyer $5,200.

After the deal, the agent then alerted the detectives who pounced on the three, recovering all the stones and serialised bank notes.