Darlings of the Diamond Empire

“Darlings of the Diamond Empire” by Shinovene Immanuel, is a subject that has received far too little press coverage and therefore not acted upon by the public given the massive financial revenue diamonds have generated for the Oppenheimer family (De Beers) and not benefitted the people of the country as it should have since 1923.
The financial benefit derived by those mentioned in the story is a result of a private initiative taken in 2002 to lever the government to invoke section 58 and 59 of the Diamond Act 1999.
The law permitted the government to seized 10 % of De Beers’ annual rough diamond production in order to test the international rough diamond prices, and more importantly on which price, revenues payable by De Beers (Oppenheimer family) to the government are calculated.
Historically government officials have had no idea how this rough diamond price presented by De Beers was calculated and whether this price was in line with international rough diamond market prices.
In a letter dated 30 April 2002 the government served a notice on De Beers Centenary AG declaring its intentions to exercise its legal right to seize the diamonds in terms of the Act and test the wholesale market price, following a continued unilateral decision by De Beers to dictate the wholesale rough diamond price.
This action by the government set in motion an immediate response from De Beers to reject the notice and have its historical partner Maurice Templesman threaten the Head of State in a letter dated 27 May 2002.
The threat and sums of money offered were conditional upon “no legal conflicts between Government and De Beers over marketing and no disruption of the delivery for sale through the De Beers of Namdeb’s entire production” that is rough diamond production.
In the interim, while communications on the matter were intensifying, the wholesale price of diamonds was increased after each export consignment in a tactic to neutralize any competitor’s possible success of buying the diamond consignment, making a profit and un-fixing the price of rough diamonds.
Despite the threat and the divisions amongst vested interests the government managed to invoke its right to seize the diamonds that was concluded at a Presidential Cabinet Resolution and agreed upon by all the Ministers.
An Action Letter from Cabinet was sent to the Minister to carry out the task but days passed when suddenly the Minister found himself embroiled in a scandal and the order from Cabinet clearly derailed to this day.
The fear instilled in the leadership of the government left it powerless and subjugated into agreeing to an alternative proposal, at the expense of the government that was incapable of executing a Presidential Cabinet Resolution.
And so it came about that 16% of the rough diamond production would initially be given at predetermined prices to selected Namibian individuals in partnership with foreign members of the De Beers’ diamond network that obviously included Maurice Templesman.
The case is evidence of the extent to which De Beers’ actions are incompatible with the EU and US common market anti-competitive regulations. In these markets billions of dollars have been lost to the government as a result of this type of tactic to fix the price on rough diamonds and eliminate any independent diamond producer in the country.
Charles Courtney-Clarke, 24th Sept 2014.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *