|Diamond cutting flagship collapses|
|Written by Staff Reporter|
|Wednesday, 15 August 2012 21:20|
ONCE the flagship of the diamond cutting and polishing industry in Namibia, Lev Leviev Diamonds (LLD) is in the process of being strapped of all its N$1 billion dollar worth of cutting and polishing equipment after the main investor and shareholder withdraw his investment in the company.LLD, which at its peak employed about 2000 workers, was left with the last 150 workers who survived numerous retrenchments in the few last years, an indication that “things moved from good to worse over time.” The last 150 workers were laid off without pay in June when the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) refused to sell diamonds to LLD for reportedly violating the industry’s Best Practical Practices.
Although NDTC is still reluctant to give reasons why they rejected to renew LLD’s license to buy diamonds from it, impeccable sources hinted at the alleged smuggling of authentic diamonds from the factory sold illegally to unknown buyers in Israel and Russia. The authentic, high quality diamonds supplied by NDTC to the factory were reportedly substituted with illegal diamonds from Namibia, Angola, Botswana and Zimbabwe bought from the black market.
“Leviev is a serious diamond investor. He’s withdrawing from LLD to protect his legitimate business locally and internationally because Kapwanga has messed up”, the source told Informanté. The LLD factory is currently being stripped of all expensive diamond cutting and polishing machines worth more than a billion dollars and plans are underway to attach some of his personal possessions. Leviev has been expanding and acquiring new factories in Windhoek since the beginning of the year.
LLD Managing Director, Kombadayedu Kapwanga, told Informanté that rumours of the sale of multi-million dollar equipment from the LLD Diamonds cutting and polishing factory in Windhoek are untrue. He claims that the equipment is not being sold or removed although the factory is now dormant with no single worker. According to Kapwanga, “we are still busy talking to government to reopen the factory,” he said.
The company has been mired in controversy ever since the Namibian Police confiscated close to 2000 diamonds from the factory at the beginning of last year. The office of the Prosecutor General is still to decide on the matter. Leviev could not be reached for comment.