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Friday, October 25, 2013
Two killed killed as crime is on the rise, illegal migrants join gemstone trade in coastal Kenya
Two killed killed as crime is on the rise,
illegal migrants join gemstone trade in coastal Kenya
Updated Saturday, October 19th 2013 at
13:58 GMT +3
Two businessmen have been killed and another
seriously injured in separate incidents in Taita-Taveta
said the gunmen fled away with unknown amount of money among other
manhunt for the runway suspects has been launched,” said County Police Commander
gangsters also attacked and critically injured another gemstone dealer who is
recuperating in hospital,” said Bitonga.
the same time police and Ministry of Mining officials have arrested 12
foreigners for engaging in mining business and others for being in the country
said police arrested three Sri Lankan nationals and an Indian for illegally
engaging in mining business in Voi town.
County Geologist Edward Omito said the Indian national was found with 14
kilogrammes of green tomaline, two kilogrammes of ruby and more than four
kilogrammes of yellow tomaline all valued at about
said the other eight Ethiopians who had no travel documents were arrested in a
house in the outskirts of Voi town. “The Ethiopians were found in a house and
their destination is still unknown,” he said.
are still looking for the owner of the house and once we find him, we will
charge him with habouring aliens,” said Bitonga.
said the Sri Lankans were arrested in a guest house in the town. The suspects
were doing mining business without following the laid down mining regulations.
They have been handed over to the Immigration officials in Mombasa for
interrogation and prosecution,” said Omito.
incident comes after the Mines department closed two gemstone dealers’ shops in
Voi town for operating illegally.
gemstone dealers opened offices without a license. They have also been colluding
with Sri Lankans to perpetrate illegal mining business,” said
incident comes at a time when the country is losing billions of shillings
through smuggling mineral racket involving unscrupulous rich foreign gemstone
dealers and miners.
influential mining cartels mainly from Sri Lanka and Tanzania come to buy
minerals and later smuggle them out of the country through undesignated routes
along the porous Kenya-Tanzania border.
cartels are said to be controlling the markets and prices of gemstones and local
dealers are denied access. Omito said the foreign dealers are colluding with
local dealers to perpetrate the vice hence bringing down the mining
said the foreigners buy the gemstones and disappear without following exit
Sri Lankans are sly and do not follow the right mining procedures. Let them do
clear business. Some of them pretend to be tourists and later buy gemstones and
smuggle the commodities out of Tanzania,” he said.
to The Counties in Voi town, Omito noted that some of the foreigners do not have
licenses. He said they only have tourist visas.
said some local mineral dealers were perfecting the practice by giving out their
offices to these illegal foreign dealers. “Some of the foreigners hire local
dealers’ offices to buy gemstones and later give ten per cent after of the total
sales while the government earns nothing from the illegal deals,” he
said the law has no provision for a wider of a mineral dealer license to assist
in exploration of minerals which he was not dealt with. He said Minerals for
export are verified by the wardens of Mines in the presence of the Export
Customs officer at the nearest point of exit before they are sealed and exports
permits and other document approved.
“It is wrong for local gemstone dealers to
invite foreigners who are not licensed to use their offices for their illegal
businesses. Some of these foreigners are using mineral dealer’s license from
local dealers which is against the law,” he
warned that registered gemstone dealers found colluding with unscrupulous
foreigners to evade taxes would face the full force of the law if
want mining to be done in a diligent way,” he said.
said the crafty foreigners buy tomaline and smuggle it out of Tanzania through
undesignated routes at Kasigau and Kuranze areas using
foreigners must have business visas and if they do not, then they have no
business staying here. We want to have real players in the mining business for
it to flourish,” he said.
region is known to contain more than 485 types of industrial minerals and
another 197 of semi-precious nature.