No diamond smuggling in Lesotho mining

May 04, 2023

The Ministry of Natural Resources, through the Commissioner of Mines, have refuted allegations of noncompliance with the Kimberley Process and the assumption of discrepancy in statistics made by one of the reporters. The Commissioner of Mines described these allegations as unfounded and misleading when addressing the media at the press conference held at the Department of Water premises in Maseru.

The Commissioner of Mines, Pheello Tjatja said the assumptions and allegations of statistics in discrepancy made by one of the reporters are baseless, saying they are intended to tarnish the brand Lesotho in the International Natural Rough Diamond Markets.

Tjatja said Lesotho remains a valuable brand in the International Natural Rough Diamonds Markets, saying they are not going to allow anyone to create bad status which they had enjoyed since 2004 when Lesotho become a member of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).

He commented that Lesotho is fully compliant with both the Kimberley Process and the laws of Lesotho, noting that the production and export processes are continuing as in other Kimberley Process compliant countries.

When responding to the allegation of failure to uphold the constitutional responsibility to monitor the country’s production, he said the government is indeed in charge and can account for all production to the last caret, saying they can also account for every cent that is due to the government.

Moreover, Tjatja said they know every production that happens in the country and they are the ones that are in charge of the exportation. He further said the allegation that the discrepancy suggests that diamonds may have been lost, stolen or smuggled before export, hinting at the possibility of blood diamonds trading, saying it is noted that the writer of the article just subtracted exports from production, and where the difference was negative, they assumed that production was illicitly traded and imported from elsewhere and this is not true.

He said the reporter that produced the article which spread the rumours was misinformed, misguided and got the mathematics calculations wrong.

In conclusion, he assured Basotho that Lesotho remains a compliant member of the Kimberley Process, and has adhered to recommendations imposed by the Kimberley Process from time to time through the Kimberley Process core document, internal control measures, peer review mechanism, statistical reporting, annual reporting and the Communique developed in the annual plenary meetings.

The Kimberley Process (KP) is a commitment to remove conflict diamonds from the global supply chain. The participants actively prevent 99.8% of worldwide trade is a multilateral trade regime established in 2003 to prevent the flow of conflict diamonds? The core of this regime is the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) under which states implement safeguards on shipments of rough diamonds and certify them as conflict-free.

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