The 709.48 carat uncut diamond found by evangelic pastor Emmanuel Momoh at the eastern Kono District on the 13th March 2017, is being flown by a sales team from the National Minerals Agency (NMA) to Antwerp Belgium sources said. The sales team, including Pastor Emmanuel Momoh, who dug up the stone, arrived in Belgium on Monday and will meet sales agents, auction houses and potential diamond-buyers.
The diamond’s discovery in March this year caused awareness as being the second-largest ever found in Sierra Leone and believed to be the 13th-largest rough diamond ever found. Earlier this year Pastor Momoh who dug the diamond told news outlet that he received an offer to smuggled the uncut diamond to Belgium by a renowned Belgian diamond dealer to which he replied smuggling the diamond would be unpatriotic and ungodly. He took the decision to bring it to the government.
“I strongly believe the government will ensure I get the best out of this diamond for the development of my people in Kono”.
During the bidding process at the Bank of Sierra Leone Complex in May 11, 2017, none of the bidders met the government’s undisclosed reserve price. The highest bid was just over $7.5 million USD. Many diamond experts and auction houses think the diamond might be worth more than $50 million USD. The highest bid of $7.7m was turned down by the government and National Minerals Agency in Freetown, so the diamond will now be sold by international tender in Belgium.
Evangelic pastor Emmanuel Momoh was asked about the process of the diamond if he regrets taking it to the government and thus he replied “I must confess that since the commencement of this whole diamond process, accountability and transparency had been proven to me beyond all necessary doubts as such I have no reservation about the government handling of the process so far. Any time this diamond is shown to prospective bidders, I will be present. I must commend the government and the National Mineral Agency and all those who were directly and indirectly involved in the fair sale of the diamond”