What was Dikembe Mutombo thinking

Mutombo, a former NBA star, seems in way over his head in a diamond scam. But some of the allegations cited in media reports don't add up.

Dikembe Mutombo in 2012 (Wiki Commons).

The former professional basketball player and NBA star, Dikembe Mutombo, finished his career with the Houston Rockets, so it is no surprise that the hometown newspaper will still be interested in his comings and goings. So, The Houston Chronicle was first to cover the bizarre story of Dikembe Mutombo’s role in a US$10 million gold scam back in his home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. It all came to light after the the United Nations published a report on the scam in December.

Now The Atlantic also has a piece. The main players are Mutombo himself, a Houston businessman, a former West Point football player and Congolese army general and war criminal Bosco Ntaganda. Like all accounts about the ‘trading’ of minerals in Eastern Congo, it gets messy.

Many other media ran away with the story, so we got to read again and again about the 4,5 ton of gold Mutombo planned on buying and reselling. The Atlantic also embedded a Powerpoint presentation which Mutombo used to convince potential ‘investors’ to get in on the deal. Strangely, the presentation talks about a “purchase quantity” of 375 kg of gold. I’m trying to figure out how those 375 kilograms turned into the 4,5 tons that are splashed all over the media.

Still, what was Mutombo thinking?

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