Pastor Emmanuel Momoh in the west African country of Sierra Leone discovered an incredibly rare uncut diamond, and unselfishly gave it to the country’s president to be used to help and benefit impoverished African people.
Africa President Ernest Bai Koroma praised Momoh’s sacrificial offer, according to local news reports, and said the diamond was “a gift from God, and it will be a terrible thing if anyone tries to do something criminal with it.”
It is believed to be the 13th largest uncut diamond ever to be pulled from the ground, industry analysts stated.
Presidential spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay said the new diamond was presented to Bai Koroma on Wednesday. It reportedly is the second largest diamond ever found in Sierra Leone, reports The Baltimore Sun.
The president communicated appreciation that there was no attempt to smuggle the gem out of the country, and promised the diamond would be sold to the highest bidder and whatever is due to the owner and government would be distributed accordingly.
Relevant Magazine reports Momoh found the 706-carat diamond in a nearby village of Yakadu, and decided to give it to the country’s government officials in hopes they will use it to improve the lives of Sierra Leone citizens. “I believe the government can do more, especially at a time when the country is undergoing some economic challenges,” said Momoh.
Momoh told The Associated Press he turned in the diamond because he was touched by the development being undertaken in Kono District, where the gem was found. He cited road construction and improvements to electricity after almost 30 years of blackouts.
Along with economic issues, the west African nation suffered an Ebola outbreak in 2014, and its citizens continually face the problem of unsafe drinking water. It is bordered by Guinea to the north-east, Liberia to the south-east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south-west.
Sierra Leone became an independent nation from Britain on April 27, 1961.
The diamond Momoh found is valued at as high as $62 million. The largest diamond previously found was a discovered in 1972 and sold for $2.5 million, reports Christian Headlines.
Historically, Sierra Leone is known for its “blood diamonds,” which were mined during periods of conflict and war, and sold to finance an uprising. Tens of thousands of enslaved Sierra Leoneans spent much of a decade hunched over hand shovels in the mud, forced to dig for diamonds to fund a rebellion mounted by a Liberian-backed warlord, Foday Sankoh, reports Yahoo News.