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Gem Diamonds Namibia awarded US $21m contract


Gem Diamonds Namibia has been awarded approximately US $21m by the Central Procurement Board to valuate Namdeb diamonds over the next five years.

As such, the mines ministry is to appoint a government diamond valuator who will  ensure that Namibian diamonds are not sold cheaply. Central Procurement Board (CPB), Patrick Swartz, confirmed awarding the tender yesterday.

Gem Diamonds, which reportedly listed five officials from the NDTC as their diamond experts, asked for US$21m to valuate Namdeb diamonds, while the current tender holder since 2007, Global Diamond Valuators Namibia, asked for US $15.45m for the same job.

The tender board’s bid evaluation committee ranked global Diamond Valuators sixth among the bidders. According to media reports, the tender agency’s bid evaluation committee had shortlisted seven companies.

The top three shortlisted companies were Gem Diamonds Namibia, which scored 100%; Prestige Diamond Services, which asked for US $16.15m and scored 97.5%; and Ondjarera Diamond Valuators which asked for US $13m and scored 89.5%.

The CPB’s decision to opt for Gem Diamonds Namibia could trigger complaints and possible appeals from the companies which lost out on the tender. Some bidding firms complained to their associates that several companies were allegedly penalised or lost points for offering low bids or free services to the government to valuate the diamonds.

The government diamond valuator receives and values the diamonds from the entire production line of Namdeb, which is jointly owned by the government and De Beers.

The diamonds are then passed on to NDTC – a joint venture between the government and De Beers.

NDTC then supplies 85% of the diamonds to special customers called sight holders, while 15% is sent to Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia).

The diamonds are, according to calculations, worth a total N$10 billion a year. The state introduced the government evaluation contract to make sure that it is not underpaid from the sale of its diamonds.

The Namibian reported last year that 11 companies submitted bids for this tender, which is described by people familiar with the trade as “fee” since they “hardly” contradict the price of diamonds that they evaluate since it is their main goal to check whether the government is getting its fair share.

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