A recently released United Nations report takes the west African nation of Liberia to task, claiming that the trafficking of precious metals and gems takes place on its soil, including diamonds, according to All Africa. The report authored by the UN Panel of Experts states that most of the trafficked diamonds in Liberia originate in its next-door neighbor Sierra Leone. Miners who unearth gems in Sierra Leone are motivated to smuggle the stones out of the country in order to avoid having to pay a 15% tax on diamonds valued at over half a million dollars. The report also claims that the illicit diamond trade runs both ways, with smaller, less expensive diamonds from Liberia being sold directly to buyers in Sierra Leone.
The accusations made in the report were corroborated by government officials on both sides of the border, with Sierra Leone's government noticing that the quantity of large stones officially exported from the country had decreased, while a senior Liberian official confessed that he believed many of these were being trafficked in his own country.