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Sierra Leone pastor discovers 706-carat diamond in village turns it back to Govt


A cleric in Sierra Leone, Pastor Emmanuel Momoh has discovered the largest uncut diamond found in more than four decades in this West African country and has turned it over to the government, saying he hopes it helps to boost recent development in his impoverished nation.
Sierra Leone pastor discovers 706-carat diamond
Sierra Leone pastor discovers 706-carat diamond in village turn it back to Govt
Pastor Momoh found the 706-carat alluvial diamond in Yakadu village in Sierra Leone's diamond-rich east, and it was presented to President Ernest Bai Koroma on Wednesday, said presidential spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay.

The diamond, is a bit smaller, but discovered as the second largest diamond found in Sierra Leone. In 1972, the 968.9-carat Star of Sierra Leone was found by miners and sold for about $2.5 million.

Why he gave it to the government:

Momoh told ABCNews that he turned in the diamond because he was touched by the development being undertaken in Kono District, where the diamond was found. He cited road construction and improvements to electricity after almost 30 years of blackouts.


"I believe the government can do more, especially at a time when the country is undergoing some economic challenges," he said.

Although, it was never clear how the pastor found the diamond, but president, Ernest Bai Koroma expressed appreciation that there was no attempt to smuggle the gem out of the country, and encouraged others to emulate the pastor's example. He promised the diamond would be sold to the highest bidder and whatever is due to the owner and government would be distributed accordingly.

"A gift from God, and it will be a terrible thing if anyone tries to do something criminal with it," the president said.

Meanwhile, Sierra Leone's diamond wealth fueled a decade-long civil war that ended in 2002. Despite its mineral wealth, the country remains one of the poorest in the world.


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