Former Mandela trustee diamond case postponed

The case against Jeremy Ractliffe, a former trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, who is facing charges related to the possession of uncut diamonds, was postponed in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Represented by Mandela’s former lawyer George Bizos, Ractliffe is charged with contravening the Diamonds Act and is out on a warning.

Ractliffe resigned from the fund in August after it was revealed that he received uncut diamonds from supermodel Naomi Campbell in 1997, when he was chief executive of the fund.

Ractliffe admitted for the first time earlier this year that he took and kept the three small diamonds given to Campbell so that she would not get into trouble.

Prosecutors in The Hague summoned Campbell to back their allegations that former Liberian leader Charles Taylor received diamonds from rebels in Sierra Leone, which they say he then used to buy weapons during a trip to South Africa in 1997.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the state did not consider Ractliffe a flight risk.

The matter in the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court, previously known as the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court, was postponed to March 2 2011 when the trial would start. – Sapa, Reuters

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