Pastor sells 709-carat diamond to help the poor

Published: Dec. 20, 2017 at 9:26 PM EST
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A pastor in Africa discovered a massive uncut diamond and sold the jewel to help his community.

The 709-carat "Peace Diamond" was discovered in the village of Koryardu in March. The man who found it, Pastor Emmanuel Momoh, vowed to sell the diamond in order to help the village.

In a statement obtained by Forbes, Momoh said, "The Peace Diamond will greatly improve the lives of our people as it will bring clean water, electricity, schools, medical facilities, bridges and roads to our villages and the Kono District."

The jewel ultimately went to auction after an offer was rejected by the Sierra Leone goverment in May. It sold for $6.5 million in New York on December 4 to Graff Diamonds.

“The sale of the Sierra Leone Peace Diamond represents a new future for the people of Sierra Leone,” said Martin Rapaport, head of the group appointed to oversee the diamond’s sale.

However, there is some uncertainty in how much the sale will help the village of Koryardu. Local reports stated that Momoh's failure to have a proper mining license means he will only receive 41 percent of the $6.5 million. “Technically, he did not own the diamond. The diamond belongs to the government of Sierra Leone,” Sahr Wonday of the minerals regulatory agency told the Daily Nation.

Rapaport's group reported that the other 59 percent of the profit will go to the African nation in the form of taxes used to benefit the community.