78-carat diamond stolen from safe
05 September 2014, 15:07
Windhoek - Namibian police are searching for a flawless 78-carat diamond, which apparently went missing from a safe at the Oranjemund branch of the Namibian mining company Namdeb.
Beeld reported on Friday that the company is trying to understand how the chicken egg-sized diamond could have disappeared from the high security office, which is monitored by satellite and CCTV.
Namdeb reportedly first investigated the matter internally before calling on police.
The diamond was found by De Beers Marine on 18 July, and was transported along with a 63-carat diamond to a safe at Namdeb's laboratory. When the theft was discovered in August, the smaller diamond was still in the safe.
According to Beeld, the diamond was not marked.
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A similar sized rough diamond was sold for $6.1m (R64.5m at the time) in 2011.
Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the stone went missing during a recent strike. About 1 500 Mineworkers Union of Namibia members started striking on 2 August after rejecting an offer of a 10% wage increase.
A Namibian police spokesperson told Bloomberg that a case of theft had been reported by the company. A company spokesperson said they would not comment as it may interfere with the investigation.
In August, the South African National Prosecuting Authority arrested a number of people believed to be part of a syndicate dealing in diamonds in the Northern Cape.
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In terms of the Diamonds Act, it is illegal to deal in, possess or sell unpolished diamonds.