As American National Illegally Detained VPs Office Named In Another Diamond Saga
Robert Weiss, an American national and owner of WS Development here in Sierra Leone, is a subject of an alleged police cruelty and illegal detention over a legal diamond business transaction that transpired between him and one Anthony Dutertre, a French national. (Photo: Sierra Leone Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh)
Mr. Anthony according to our source is believed to be highly connected to state authorities in Guinea who are using their diplomatic influence to involve Sierra Leone Government Officials especially from the Office of the Vice President, Dr.-Mohamed-Juldeh-Jalloh, to intimidate and wrongfully punish Mr. Robert Weiss.
According to the allegation, Mr. Anthony Dutertre came to Sierra Leone sometime in March of this year as a businessman with an interest in buying and exporting diamonds from the country. During his stay, he was hosted by Mr. Robert Weiss in his WS Diamond Hotel situated at Smart Farm, Off Wilkinson Road, Freetown, based on recommendation from one Shaun, who is Robert’s friend to ease his business transactions.
During his first visit to Sierra Leone he purchased diamonds that where valued at GGDO at $64,000.00 USD and legally exported them to Geneva. When in Geneva where he shipped the diamond a source that accompanied him stated that Mr. Anthony refused a sale of the diamond when offered over $100,000. Our sources revealed, he (Anthony) had the diamond shipped to the USA, and returned to Sierra Leone for additional diamonds.
After a legally transacted business involving 13.39 and 2.61 carat diamonds which all legal parties including GGDO Valuation, NMA Certification, paying all royalties and taxes payable to the government of Sierra Leone Facilitation of export by Kassim Bassma and the fulfillment of all the financial agreements he (Anthony) left the country with the diamonds for sale in the USA where his first purchase was shipped. When in the USA, Mr. Anthony allegedly faced some problems in selling the second diamond which prompted him to not only acid wash the diamond but to cut windows in the diamond reducing the carat weight of the diamond by more than a half of a carat and inadvertently the value of diamond all against the advice of Mr. Weiss. This made it extra difficult to get the kind of money he wanted for the gem. After failing in all efforts to get maximum money from the diamond, he smuggled it back to Sierra Leone without the necessary Kimberly Paper work.
Upon his return to the country with the smuggled diamond, Mr. Anthony with the help of some state officials, allegedly from the office of the Vice President, made a report at the Congo Cross Police Station with allegation of being duped by Mr. Robert Weiss. The Congo Cross Police reacted by storming the hotel of Robert Weiss at Smart Farm with a search and arrest warrant in search of the diamond in question and during which they turned the hotel upside down to the point of stripping naked a Sierra Leonean lady that was with Mr. Weiss. After a thorough search without finding anything, Mr. Weiss was then taken to the Congo Cross Police Station where eye witnesses say he was mishandled by the police personnel at the station including the LUC who was allegedly screaming at him. Mr. Weiss has stated that during the time he was giving his statement to the police they were fabricating and falsely documenting his words. In fact he refused to sign the statement being taken at Congo Cross until it was at least near the facts. He was locked up for a while at the Congo Cross Police Station and later transferred to the CID Headquarters on Pademba Road in a state vehicle allegedly belonging to the office of the Vice President.
After three days of being held at CID where Mr. Weiss has stated that he was treated humanely he was later released on bail after his lawyer had threatened to take legal action for the illegal detention of his client. Before his release, he was asked to surrender his American Passport which many say is undone.
As part of our investigation, this medium contacted the CID Boss, Mr. Tommy to throw light on the matter but declined to say anything because according to him the matter is still under investigation. Also during the course of our investigation, we contacted Mr. Jihad Basma, the owner of the export license that was used to facilitate the export of the said diamonds from Sierra Leone and confirmed that indeed it was a legal business that transpired between Mr. Anthony and Robert Weiss. He explained that his company’s role was just to use their license to facilitate the export as mandated by the Sierra Leone Government and mentioned that he did not see any wrong doing by Robert Weiss.
Our investigation also revealed that, Mr. Anthony admitted in front of NMA officials, PMT officials and other parties of not having the Kimberly papers that authorized his bringing the diamond back to Sierra Leone which is a breach of the Kimberly laws and regarded as smuggling but interestingly, no action has been instituted against him.
This medium also tried to contact officials of NMA and PMT but we were only able to get one Madam Mariama of PMT who said she was aware of the said matter but declined to say anything to us and only advised that we wait until her boss, the Director at PMT, returns from his abroad trip. Our efforts also in trying to reach officials at the Office of the Vice President have all proven futile as security officers at the gate could not allow us access to the VP’s office.
As at press time, our efforts in contacting Mr. Anthony yielded no dividend as his phone was constantly off.
As we continue our investigations, this medium is in possession of high profile names from the Office of the Vice President believed to have a hand in the unfair treatment of Mr. Weiss and will be published in our subsequent edition.
By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara
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