NWT Premier Alleges De Beers/Conflict Diamond Connection

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(Rapaport . . .September 10, 2003) Northwest Territories Premier Stephen Kakfwi has accused De Beers of dealing in conflict diamonds, reports The Globe and Mail. According to the paper, the Canadian Premier said De Beers was less than forthcoming about the source of its diamonds. “De Beers mixes all its diamonds, whether from Siberia or Angola or South Africa or Botswana,” said Kakfwi. “They just put it all together. They do not want to identify the source of diamonds because a huge portion of their diamonds come from countries of dubious character, dubious governments. They do business with guerrilla movements, and people are concerned about it.”

However, many in the industry panned the comments and De Beers spokesperson Linda Dorrington said the accusation is completely untrue. “De Beers has been verbally contacted by the Premier’s office and informed that the Premier has recognized that his statements were inaccurate and that he will correct them,” she said.

In a related incident, De Beers also came under fire when rumors circulated that South Africa’s Scorpion diamond police unit had raided De Beers’ Kimberley sorting operation. However, De Beers issued the following statement: “The South African Revenue Services (SARS) visited De Beers offices in Johannesburg, Kimberley and a few mines as a part of a regular audit undertaken by SARS into any South African company. There is nothing unusual or sinister in this and naturally the company gave the authorities its full cooperation.”

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