May 24, 2019

Mandela charity trustee resigns over Campbell diamonds

I am the victim here. Two men I didn't know came to my room late and said they wanted to give me diamonds. It would have been rude to leave them standing out in the corridor.

The former head of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Jeremy Ractliffe, has resigned from the board after admitting he secretly kept diamonds received from the model Naomi Campbell.

Mr Ractliffe admitted he had the gems after Campbell named him in her recent testimony at the war crimes trial of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor.

At the trial, Ms Campbell said she was given some “dirty-looking stones” by two unidentified men following a charity dinner hosted by South Africa’s former President Nelson Mandela in 1997. Mr Taylor was also a guest.

She told the court she did not have proof they came from Mr Taylor and had given them to Mr Ractliffe because she wanted the stones to go to charity.

Mr Ractliffe said he had kept the stones, which could link him to illegal ‘blood diamonds’, because he wanted to protect the reputation of Mr Mandela and his charity.

Just in case you have been on Mars in recent weeks here is the plot summary of saga.

Charles Taylor used to be President of Liberia. By all accounts he is a fairly brutal piece of work. But to be in power in that part of Africa being brutal seems to be part of the job description.

Everyone was happy to know Taylor while he was in power. When he stepped down he was accussed of brutality and illegally mining diamonds to buy war toys to help him be brutal.

He has now been brought to trial in the Netherlands at the International court of Justice.

Prosecutors there called Naomi Campbell to testify that she received diamonds from Mr. Taylor back in 1997.

Naomi who was unhappy about showing up because she had a hair appointment said that she opened her hotel room door late at night to two unknown men and received diamonds from them.

Unimpressed that they were uncut, she gave them to the head of the Nelson Mandela Childrens Charity to go towards their work.

The head of that charity Jeremy Ractliffe nobly kept the diamonds himself – not wanting to tarnish the reputation of Mandela or his charity. He has now handed them over to the police.

Everything makes sense except why Campbell would open her door late at night to men she didn’t know and accept diamonds from them? Mia Farrow and Campbells former assistant had some theories on that but Naomi said they were lying.