Ghana Works to Solve KP Issues by March 2007

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RAPAPORT… Ghana expects to pass the requirements of the Kimberley Process (KP) by March 2007 and clear Ghana’s name from the list of countries involved in illegal trade in diamonds from conflict regions, reported Ghana News Agency. Ghana was accused in October 2006 of certifying rough from neighboring Cote d’Ivoire as KP compliant.

Dominic Fobih, minister of Lands Forestry and Mines, said Ghana was committed to the Action Plan developed at Gaborone, Botswana, (during the Kimberley Process plenary) that will assist the country to combat conflict diamonds issues.

“The Action Plan is so critical to Ghana since it presents another opportunity for us to clean our image,” he said at a gathering in Accra. 

The European Commission took over chairmanship of Kimberley Process on January 1, 2007,  and is helping Ghana strengthen its regulatory, monitoring and supervision mechanisms for the certification scheme.  The United States is aiding Ghana as well.

Fobih said  the government has put into place a general supervisory body chaired by the deputy minister of mines to give the entire process a ministerial prominence. He noted that the Precious Mineral Marketing company is being empowered to tighten its monitoring and supervision mechanisms.

Abbey Chikane, chairman of the South African Diamond Board, who is also part of the team of consultants, maintained that Ghana could meet all the requirements, but noted that the country was yet to quantify the exact volumes of diamonds produced at the various mines.

“By the end of February 2007 we are optimistic that Ghana will be ready to receive a special mission from the process for assessment of its implementation.

“The more countries that are involved in the process, the more we do away with more countries that serve as safe places for illegal trade in conflict diamonds,” Chikane said.

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