Sierra Leone Pastor, Emmanuel Momoh, finds a 706 carat diamond while searching through river sediment. He is not a professional diamond hunter and has given the stone to the government to help development in the region where it was found.
The largest uncut diamond found Sierra Leanoe in more than 40 years has been found by a pastor. The 706-carat alluvial diamond was found by Pastor Emmanuel Momoh in Yakadu village in Sierra Leone's diamond-rich east. It is one of the twenty largest rough diamonds ever found. He presented it to President Ernest Bai Koroma. Momoh told The Associated Press that he turned in the diamond because he was touched by the development being undertaken in Kono District: "I believe the government can do more, especially at a time when the country is undergoing some economic challenges," he said.
The gem is the second largest diamond ever to be found in Sierra Leone. (The largest was discovered In 1972, the 968.9-carat Star of Sierra Leone sold for about £2 million)
Ernest Bai Koroma, president of Sierra Leone, stated that the Ministry of Mines was given "clear instruction to the Ministry of Mines that the evaluation, sale and distribution of the proceeds must be done in the most transparent manner." He also said that Momoh would be given a certain amount of the proceeds after the diamond is sold at auction. The president also expressed appreciation that there was no attempt to smuggle the gem out of the country, and encouraged others to follow the pastor's example.
This diamond is now in a safe at the Bank of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone's central bank in Freetown, but has yet to be valued.
The president expressed appreciation that there was no attempt to smuggle the gem out of the country, and encouraged others to emulate the pastor's example. He promised the diamond would be sold to the highest bidder and whatever is due to the owner and government would be distributed accordingly and transparently.
"A gift from God, and it will be a terrible thing if anyone tries to do something criminal with it," the president said. Sierra Leone's diamond wealth fuelled a decade-long civil war that ended in 2002. Despite its mineral wealth, the country remains one of the poorest in the world.