Tanzania’s President John Magufuli said on Thursday he had ordered a review of a contract belonging to Petra Diamonds Ltd in Tanzania and asked senior public officials to resign over the outcome of a probe into the sector.
“I have endorsed all the recommendations of the parliamentary probe committees for the review of the Williamson Diamond mine contract,” Magufuli said in a television broadcast, referring to a mine that Petra owns.
Magufuli said he had also ordered law enforcement agencies to investigate allegations of under-declared diamond exports.
In July, the Tanzanian National Assembly formed a nine-man investigative team to assess how the East African nation was benefiting from diamond mining.
“The investigative team will look at regulation, ownership and diamond mining,” the Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai told the House in the political capital Dodoma.
He said the team drawing Members of Parliament from the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the opposition camp would work for 30 days before submitting its report.
A month before the team was formed, President Magufuli had received findings of a probe that found out that Tanzania might have lost millions of dollars in revenue from mining operations during the past two decades.
Nehemiah Osoro, the chairman of a special committee that compiled the second mineral concentrates report, said the report revealed massive cheating by mining companies on the amount of gold exports and tax evasion.
For example, said Osoro, the report showed that between 1998 and March 2017, between 44,000 and 61,000 containers of mineral concentrates worth 49.12 billion to 83.32 billion U.S. dollars were exported outside the country without the country getting a single cent from taxes.