Our conflict diamonds

15 April 2021 | Opinion

Our diamonds have become conflict diamonds. Conflict in the local definition which implies the scramble to enrich well-connected people.

The tender to valuate Namdia diamonds was nothing but an 'eating' scheme by the politically connected. There is now common consensus that once the current Nuska contract to valuate diamonds ends in October, the whole function of outsourcing diamond valuations will be discontinued.

What this consensus tells us is that the scheme was not necessary in the first place – and that it was simply introduced as a clandestine cash cow, birthed by former mines minister Obeth Kandjoze and his cohorts in the deal.

The fact that President Geingob never acted in this matter also leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of a common man – but it shouldn't surprise anyone.

First, why was this contract – worth between N$600 million and N$1.5 billion – never put on public tender for all interested parties to apply?

Second, how was a sanitation entity, devoid of history let alone capability in this field, thrust into the job? Who presided over this award and what did they base their award decision on?

Third, how did Doron Cohen, a flamboyant Israeli with well-documented State House links, land the contract - or better yet, how did he get involved in the first place?

What is sad in Namibia is not just the existence of grand-scale corruption. The fact that people entrusted with fighting corruption simply look the other way is the greatest act of betrayal anyone can commit against the republic.

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