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Accused in city diamond case fined R10 million

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Gem accused sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years, and ordered to pay a R10 million fine

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AN ACCUSED in the Hawks’ investigation into the illegal dealing in uncut diamonds – Project Darling – has been issued with a R10 million fine after pleading guilty to the charges.

Hawks provincial spokesperson Nomthandazo Mnisi said that the accused, Ashley Brooks, 61, was sentenced in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

“This follows a project driven by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation [the Hawks] that started in 2014 to investigate transactions amounting to R28 million that were linked to illegal diamond dealings.”

The case against Brooks was placed back on the court roll after the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court overturned an application that was granted for a permanent stay of prosecution.

“He was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years. Brooks was also ordered to pay a R10 million fine,” Mnisi said.

She said that 26 accused persons were arrested during the investigation.

“Twenty-one of the accused were charged for racketeering and dealing in uncut diamonds, of which cases were finalised against eight accused.”

Mnisi added that two accused pleaded guilty and were sentenced to fines of R15 million as well as two years’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years.