Tibone Tells KPCS to Tighten Internal Controls, Data Collection

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RAPAPORT… In an opening address to the 14th Kimberley Process annual plenary conference, Botswana’s minister of minerals, energy and water resources, Charles Tibone, told participants that internal controls must be tightened, including production data collected from mining sites.

According to the Botswana Press Agency, Tibone announced that President Festus Mogae sent him to deliver a special message to his counterpart in Ghana during October 2006 in order to discuss allegations in the recent report by the United Nations Group of Experts that diamonds were being smuggled through a number of countries in West Africa, some of whom are participants of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS.)

The report added that between 2000 and 2005, Ghana’s rough diamond export levels increased by 60 percent while the export value increased by 210 percent. Because of the vulnerability of Ghana’s system of internal controls, the UN Group of Experts concluded that this increase in exports could be explained by inflow of diamonds from Cote d’Ivoire.

“We have been assured that the issue will receive the attention that it requires,” the minister said.

Tibone added that it is imperative for member countries to carefully scrutinize companies and individuals seeking to operate in their countries. He emphasized that the KPCS has allowed participants to achieve much more while working as a group than any country could have done on an individual level. 

“The fact that today about 99.8 percent of the world diamond trade is conflict-free bears clear testimony to this,” Tibone said.

While the minister urged participants to inform the world that they could safely say that the concerns that led to KPCSs founding will soon become a thing of the past, he also advised member countries to act resolutely to clean the remaining 0.2 percent of unclean diamonds.  

The 2006 KPCS annual conference is expected to focus on the detailed report on the initiatives third year review, which includes three major areas: Operations of the scheme, their effectiveness and efficiency.

Participants of the conference will also discuss the technical provisions of the scheme.

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