Israeli pilot charged with Zim diamond smuggling

An Israeli pilot was this week charged in a Zimbabwean court after being arrested and accused of trying to smuggle uncut diamonds believed to be from the Chiadzwa alluvial fields.

Shmuel Kainan Klein, 55, was arrested at Harare airport shortly before boarding a flight to Johannesburg. Security officials at the airport allegedly found more than 1,400 stones, weighing 1.7 kilograms, in his hand luggage.

The diamonds are said to be worth an estimated US$2 million.

Klein has insisted that he was in transit and was "framed" by someone known to him.

He appeared before a Harare court on Thursday, accused of unlawful possession of precious stones and immigration offences. Klein was given US$5,000 bail and the case was remanded to March 28th. He was ordered to surrender his passport and report twice daily to the Harare Central police station.

Prosecutor Tracy Mundanga told the court that Klein was dressed in a pilot's uniform when he presented himself with his luggage at a staff security point, even though he had flown into the country as a passenger.

The diamonds meanwhile were taken to the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe for examination. – SW Radio Africa News

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