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Tanzania: Govt. seizes Petra Diamond's consignment allegedly for tax evasion, company denies allegations

"Petra suspends mining after diamonds seizure by Tanzania"

Tanzania’s Petra Diamonds has suspended operations at one of its mines after...President John Magufuli’s administration...[seized] its minerals...Last week, Tanzania announced that it would nationalise the diamond consignment owned by Petra that was en route to Belgium after the government claimed it had been under-declared by more than $14.8 million. “While Williamson Diamonds declared in its documentation that the value of the diamonds was $14.798 million, a fresh valuation done by the government established that the actual value of the diamonds is $29.5 million. Legal actions to be taken include nationalisation of all the diamonds seized if it is established that there was cheating involved in declaring the actual value of the minerals,” Tanzania’s Finance and Planning Ministry said in a statement.

The diamond miner in its reaction to the seizure, and subsequent questioning of its employees as part of an investigation into the country’s mining industry said it is be suspending its operations for safety and security reasons. Petra, however, said it would engage the government in order to resolve the issue. “Petra confirms that a parcel of diamonds (71,654 carats) from the Williamson mine in Tanzania has been blocked from export to Petra’s marketing office in Antwerp and certain key personnel from Williamson are being questioned by the authorities. However, the grounds upon which these actions have been taken have not been formally made known to the company as yet,” the company said.