By Felix Andrew
THE government of Tanzania has ordered security organs to arrest all people who have been involved on illegal smuggling of the precious ornament as well as scrutinize properties of all current and past workers at Mwadui diamond mines in Shinyanga region to see their legalities.
The directives were issued today by the Minister for Finance and Planning Dr Philip Mpango, when receiving a report on smuggled diamond that was seized at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam airport last week.
Minister for Finance and Planning Dr Philip Mpango
The USD 29.5 worth haulage was to be transferred to Belgium aboard KLM flight was nabbed by Police officers at Dar es Salaam airport. According to law the said haulage would be confiscated.
Earlier, the total value of the seized diamond was announced 32.8bn/- but after the investigation which was carried by Prof Abdulkarim Mruma and his team it was established the actual value was USD 29.5 million equivalent to more than shillings 62billion.
“They have stolen our precious metals for a long time, enough is enough I order all people involved in this illegal smuggling to be arrested and questioned by security organs,” he said.
Dr Mpango said: “To start with, i direct security organs to interrogate all workers of Mwadui Diamond mines and see their properties whether they was accrued legally or not.”
London-listed Petra Company has a 75 percent stake in the mine, while the government of Tanzania owns 25 percent
The Finance minister said the government intend to recover all the money stolen by unfaithful workers in the mining industry.
He also said such measures should also take to all workers of Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), and airport who were involved in illegal diamond smuggling.
Explaining further, he ordered the new Board of Directors of Mwadui Diamond mine under Prof Mruma, to make sure that the government get its dividend.
“We have a stake of 25 percent in this company, but the government has not get any dividend since it started operations over 50 years ago, this is not fair at all,” he said.
He noted that effective from today diamond valuation exercise would be carried at Mines in Shinyanga and Dar es Salaam International Airport.
Two weeks ago, President John Magufuli ordered a review of a Petra Diamonds Ltd contract and asked senior public officials to resign over the outcome of a probe into the mining sector.
The moves are the latest attempt by Magufuli to tighten control over the mining industry to boost government revenues and stamp out alleged corruption.
"I have endorsed all the recommendations of the parliamentary probe committees for the review of the Williamson diamond mine contract," Magufuli said in a televised broadcast.
A parliamentary committee said there were "gross irregularities" in the manner in which the Tanzanian government diluted its shareholding in Williamson from an initial 50 percent to the current 25 percent.
The president's actions are a continuation of a crackdown in the mining sector - which accounts for about 4 percent of Tanzania's gross domestic product.
Magufuli has sent shockwaves through the mining industry in Africa's fourth-largest gold producer since his election late in 2015 with actions he says are aimed at ensuring that mining companies pay a fair share of taxes.
Tanzania has passed new laws to increase mining taxes, to force companies to renegotiate their contracts and to allow the state to own up to 50 percent of shares in mining companies.
Already Tanzania has launched an investigation to trace millions of dollars lost through smuggling of minerals out of the country.
The move is the latest in a string of attempts by the government to track down a group of international smugglers who have been exporting minerals to overseas markets in China, Italy, Vietnam and Europe.The mining sector contributes at least 4.6 per cent to the Tanzanian economy.