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Diamonds worth US$1bn missing

Zimbabwe financial Gazette "THE lack of transparency in the sale of diamonds has prejudiced the State of potential revenues in excess of US$1 billion, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said. Biti's claims coincide with reports by the United Kingdom's BBC Panorama investigative series alleging the existence of torture camps near the controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange where civilians are reportedly being subjected to severe beatings and sexual attacks.
Mines Minister, Obert Mpofu has strongly denied the existence of the torture camps, calling it 'cheap propaganda from the BBC.'
In a Parliamentary speech last week, Biti claimed the country's gems were being sold for a song."

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Court frees boy prisoner

The Namibian Newspaper: "THE High Court yesterday ordered the immediate release of a 12-year-old boy who became Namibia's youngest sentenced prison inmate after receiving a six-month jail term for housebreaking and theft at Karasburg in October.

In a review judgement handed down by Judge Elton Hoff, Acting Judge Claus Hinrichsen set aside the boy's conviction and sentence and ordered his immediate release from detention.

Judge Hoff agreed with Acting Judge Hinrichsen's decision, which was based on the principle that a child as young as the boy is presumed not to be criminally liable, especially where he had been involved in a crime while under the influence and instructions of a much older person.
The boy was sentenced to six months' imprisonment on October 19, after he had been convicted in the Karasburg Magistrate's Court on a charge of housebreaking with intent to steal and theft."