Diamond Industry Annual Review: Sierra Leone 2005

Lansana Gberie

01 Feb 2005

12pages PDF

"The government of Sierra Leone should tighten airport security to combat smuggling, it should establish a strategic oversight function for diamond sector regulation and enforcement, it should establish a low-cost and strategically targeted system to “check the checkers”, and it should improve data collection, coordination, analysis and decision making in the diamond sector. Those are the main recommendations from diamond security specialist Jeffrey Corkill in a report on antismuggling measures arranged by Management Systems International for USAID’s Diamond Policy and Management Project in October 2004. The report recommends better profiling and surveillance of known diamond traders, the creation of a priority departure lane for declared diamond dealers, along with a secure departure lounge, and improved cross-agency coordination in airport surveillance. It recommends better collaboration among the various government stakeholders in diamond sector regulation and enforcement, and a system to ensure that checks throughout the system are themselves being audited. The report is critical of what it calls “poor diamond information management” between the mining areas and Freetown, “which provides significant opportunity to disguise corrupt and illicit activity.” While the current methodology for reporting diamond trading transactions is, according to the report, “essentially adequate”, significant flaws in the process compromise the system and the data that is collected. The report calls on the government to correct attitudes that mask an “unwillingness by certain officials to use those assets that are available in a more effective manner”. It says that while there have been many changes for the better in recent years, significant further improvements will require “sustained and steady pressure” from the international donor community."