Thursday, July 16, 2015


The Mozambican police in the northern province of Cabo Delgado have seized a truck carrying a container filled with 15 tonnes of semi-precious stones that were being smuggled to Tanzania, reports Wednesday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”.According to the police the same truck had been spotted on several previous occasions leaving the mining area in Ancuabe district, which aroused suspicions. This time, the truck was stopped at a checkpoint, and the police insisted on opening the container.When the stones, mostly garnets, were found, the police arrested the driver, who is a Tanzanian citizen. A multi-sector team, including officials from the customs service and from the Provincial Directorate of Mineral Resources and Energy is investigating the case.A police spokesperson told reporters that, two days after the seizure, a document was presented apparently giving the owner of the stones, another Tanzanian citizen, the right to transport the stones to Tanzania by sea.But the stones were not on board any boat, and the police suspect that the export licence was illegally passed on to a different person. “This type of licence is personal, and it cannot be transmitted to anybody else”, said the spokesperson. “The holder of the licence could be barred from any further activity”.Uncut garnets vary in price, according to their quality. Poor quality stones are worth very little, less than one US dollar a carat, but higher quality garnets will sell for much more. The website of one Tanzanian dealer offers a kilo of rough red garnets for 125 dollars. So if the shipment seized in Cabo Delgado is of acceptable quality, it could fetch over 1.8 million dollars.

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