Kimberley - A number of businessmen believed to be part of a syndicate dealing in diamonds were arrested in Kimberley, Northern Cape on Friday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.

“In a sting operation carried out by a multi-disciplinary project team of law enforcement agencies, a number of senior businessmen were arrested in Kimberley on charges of contravening the Diamonds Act, that is illegal diamond dealing, possession and sale of unpolished diamonds and money laundering,” spokesman Nathi Mncube said.

He said the team was set up in October 2011, and through the use of undercover agents it was discovered that various unlawful transactions in dealing in unwrought diamonds took place in the Northern Cape.

He said the High Court in Kimberley on Friday, granted the NPA 10 preservation orders in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act effectively freezing property in the sum of approximately R50 million.

“The freezing orders were made up of R43 million in cash being proceeds from criminal activity, five fixed properties and four vehicles that were used to commit illegal diamond transactions.”

He said the order takes place with immediate effect pending the filing of forfeiture applications against the cash and other property in due course.

Sapa