Hundreds of citizens, including brokers, miners, and family members of a Liberian, who found a 53.3-carat diamond recently in Gbarpolu County, protest here before President George Weah’s Jamaica Resort entertainment center along the Roberts International Airport highway outside Monrovia, demanding the dismissal of the Assistant Minister of Mines Emmanuel T.T. Swen, for allegedly withholding the precious stone approximately valued US$5 Million.
The diamond in question was reportedly found by Mohammed Kamara at a diamond creek in Gbarpolu, Western Liberia and allegedly turned over to authorities at the Ministry of Mines in Monrovia.
But protesters, led by Bill Lama and Mohammed Kamara, alias “Jack” and creek owner, Ma Fatu Nyumah Borbor, Thursday, June 1, stormed the President’s Jamaica Resort residence, calling for the immediate dismissal of Assistant Minister Swen, who they accused of robbing them of their found wealth.
They accused the Assistant Minister of stealing the diamond while propagating misleading information to the public.
According to the protesters, the 53.3-carate diamond was found by fisherman Mohammed Kamara, a.k.a “Iron Jacket” at Claim Number #9 Diamond Creek in Gbarpolu. The creek is owned by Ma Fatu Nyumah Borbor, said to be an experience mineral dealer.
Protester Lama narrates that it was during a regular routine that Mr. Kamara allegedly found the diamond, and while informing authorities of the township, the news spread like wildfire.
He says Assistant Minister of Mines, Emmanuel T.T. Swen, got involved and the stone was presented to him, as a representative of government, but the minister has deliberately refused to return the diamond.
Speaking in grieve, Mohammed Kamara details that he found the diamond, while working at Ma Fatu Borbor Creek, and informed neighbors, but was told to report it to the Ministry of Mines which has jurisdiction over mineral matters to ensure the right things are done so that all parties will benefit.
Kamara continues that it was then that Assistant Minister Emmanuel Swen got involved, and has since allegedly held the diamond hostage.
“All we want is President George Weah to dismiss Minister Swen because he is a rogue, a criminal and has stolen our diamond”, he says.
“We will not sleep and will not rest until our diamond is given back. Minister Swen has been in a clandestine deal. He has tried to use his influence to intimidate us, and taken away our diamond and given it to those he prefers to sell it to and enjoy our sweat, but this will not work”, Lama vows.
He further accuses Minister Swen of giving the diamond to one “Kpaku” to keep, whom, according to him, was instructed to give them US$100,000 to forget about the matter, but eventually, he allegedly gave them US$88,000 which they rejected and instead, requested their diamond back.
Mr. Kamara expresses dissatisfaction about the amount given to him and his team, as Minister Swen allegedly tries to withhold the diamond, saying “They gave me US$88,000 as bonus for my 53.3-carat diamond; this is unfair.”
“I need my diamond so we can have the real way of selling the diamond. We can’t sell diamonds without miners and the government”, he laments.
Similarly, Ma Fatu Borbor, owner of the mine where the diamond was reportedly found, cries out to Minister Swen to return the diamond to Mohammed Kamara, who she describes as her brother-in-law.
“I am appealing to our President, George Weah, to come to my rescue by returning to me my diamond discovered in my creek”, she demands.
Madam Borbor: “We need our diamond. I am crying on President George Manneh Weah to intervene so that [it] will benefit the district and county at large. This is a life-changing opportunity for me and my children.”
Meanwhile, at least four protesters were arrested by the Liberia National Police (LNP) on Thursday. The NEW DAWN was unable to establish immediately their offense. Editing by Jonathan Browne