Indian tycoon in $1m diamonds, gold scandal

Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
AN Indian businessman has been arrested after he was found in possession of gold, diamonds and emeralds worth about US$1 million. Kassam Shiraaj (50), of Belvedere in Harare, was found in possession of 3 809,37 carats of rough diamonds valued at US$661 044.

It is further alleged that he also had emeralds valued at US$40 767, three gold buttons and seven bars of smelted gold weighing 4 007,79 grams. A plastic containing 1 344,76 gold granules was also recovered from him. The value of the gold was yet to be ascertained at the time of going to press.

Shiraaj appeared before magistrate Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe on Friday charged with two counts of contravening the Gold Trade Act and possessing minerals without a licence.

He was granted US$5 000 bail and ordered to surrender title deeds to his four properties.

The businessman was directed to report to the ZRP Minerals Unit in Harare once every Monday.

Mr Chikwekwe remanded him to December 1.

Prosecutor Miss Sharon Mashavira alleged that on November 5, police visited Shiraaj’s offices in Westgate following a tip off.

On arresting him, they recovered diamonds, emeralds and gold, but without dealer’s permit or licence.

They searched his office and found six sachets containing 630 pieces of diamonds and nine sachets containing emeralds weighing 1 247,3 grammes.

He was asked to produce a licence but failed. The precious stones were taken to the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe where they were evaluated.

A further search was conducted at his offices and a small in-built safe was discovered in one of the cupboards. The police recovered three gold buttons and seven bars of smelted gold weighing 4 007,79 grams.

They also recovered a plastic bag containing 1344,76 gold granules and another containing grams of gold alloy.

The recovered gold was sent to the Department of Metallurgy for assessment.

Its value has not been established.

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