More diamond syndicate arrests expected

Johannesburg - The Hawks expect to arrest more people linked to a multi-million rand illicit diamond dealing syndicate, spokesperson Paul Ramaloko said on Tuesday.

"The operation continues, which includes raids and seizures. At least 35 people are targeted through the operation," Ramaloko said.

He said 26 people, aged between 23 and 70, appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate's Court and were granted bail of between R5 000 and R500 000.

The charges included money laundering and using unregistered premises as a diamond trading house. Four of them were women.

Ramaloko said the arrests were part of Project Darling that was initiated in 2012 to eliminate illicit diamond trade with a specific focus on the Northern Cape and links to the rest of the country.

Among seizures made was R4.417m cash, 66 diamonds, 16 digital scales, laptops, vehicles, two firearms, 282 rounds of ammunition, and an elephant tusk.

"We believe that the discovery of the tusk could lead to more illegal activities committed by the suspects," Ramaloko said.

The raids were conducted in Johannesburg and Kimberley.

Ramaloko said in 31 transactions 490 diamonds were sold to the accused. These amounted to R43.183m.

Twenty-three transactions comprising 76 diamonds amounting to R380 000 were purchased from the accused.

Charges of tax evasion would be added in due course, Ramaloko said.

Read more on: hawks crime
Nigel van Ysendyk 2014/08/26 08:52:20 AM
is this where malema got the money to repay his taxes
Anthony Proanc 2014/08/26 09:07:16 AM
. Forget about the diamonds !!! It is high time , the Hawks investigate the relationship between; Helen Zille, Ramphele Mamphara, Glyniss Breytenbach, Thuli Modonsela the FW de Klerk Foundation , that London based Billionaire Nathan Kirsh, and the MILLIONS of rands moving around !!! .
Sydney Horn 2014/08/26 09:09:13 AM
And as usual they got an address wrong as well - came in guns blazing with a helicopter, battering rams and more guns than any nine year old can handle - doors were battered down and all were huddled under gunpoint ! gate driven over with large vehicle ! What do they find ? A crying newborn, a hysterical nine year old, the char and gardener and a case of mistaken identity ! Fools !!!
Raymon McNelly 2014/08/26 09:11:40 AM
Why is it illegal to have uncut diamonds anyway ?
Shaun O'Meara 2014/08/26 10:17:10 AM
De Beers are the people or rather the company that influenced the previous government to implement the Kimberly Process Certificate. Thus they had a lot to do with the laws that govern raw diamonds today. Where ever they mine the same laws apply. This is not totally a bad thing as it keeps tax payments in line as well as diamonds coming out of war torn areas. Blood diamond deals. On the other hand it is a God given wealth controlled by a minority again.
criticallyhonest 2014/08/26 11:05:11 AM
Why does the bail (and eventually the fines) not bear more relationship to the values mentioned. There is a principle at stake here, one that the justice department seems set to ignore. That is whenever the punishment for crime does not exceed the proceeds then the punishment is condoning and encouraging the crime. So the total value of bail should be multiples of the total value of the proceeds. R50 million divided by 26 people comes to a rough average for bail of R2 million each. Why is this so hard for the justice department to grasp?
Reva Barendse 2014/08/26 11:17:15 AM
Will the Hawks target the real criminals instead of innocent people as they have done recently? And, then go quiet on all the damage they've caused to the homes?
Mbudzeni Shandukani 2014/08/26 11:26:47 AM
In a corrupt country.. the big fish will be let loose,power of money
Conrad 2014/08/27 12:42:33 PM
What took you so long Hawks