From the Houston Chronicle: One-time NBA star Dikembe Mutombo has made a worldwide name for himself sponsoring humanitarian projects and noble causes in his native Africa, so it was only natural that two State Department officials would meet with him in November 2010 as part of his effort to bring more attention to the bloody trade in conflict minerals that has bedeviled his homeland, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Less than two weeks later, according to a U.N. report, Mutombo was in New York on a more personal cause — trying to interest a Houston oil executive in a $10 million deal to buy 1,045 pounds of gold from the mines of eastern Congo, the heart of the conflict mineral trade.
If Mutombo had reservations about the apparent contradiction between word and deed, he did not show it. He eagerly explained how he and his family had 4 tons of Congolese gold just waiting for a buyer.
Because of an internal ban on mining and exports, imposed to try to stop the main revenue source for the mafia-like militias that controlled them, the gold could not be taken to market in usual ways. What Mutombo needed was somebody with money, connections and the ability to put a deal together.
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