BARRICK was also so sure that they could do ANYTHING and get away with it !! ???
Everything changes now because they are CAUGHT in a CORRUPTION CONSPIRACY in Tanzania !!
This story about Barrick Gold has now broken open in Tanzania – in the “The Citizen” – part of the biggest daily newspapers in the country….. FRONT PAGE main headlines in The Citizen and full story on page 2.
DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA:
An investigation is on to establish whether CORRUPTION may have influenced actions that resulted in a $115 million (Sh230bn) mining permit dispute pitting a local company against gold mining giant, Acacia Mining, formerly Barrick Gold.
The Citizen has learnt that both the Ministry of Energy and Minerals and the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) are probing claims that the ministry’s officials may have acted improperly in handling the matter.
The investigations follow a report sent to the institutions by a private anti-corruption lobby group that says its own inquiry shows that some ministry officials and Acacia may have colluded to cover up the circumstances around Barrick’s loss of the local company’s mining license.
Energy and Minerals Minister Prof Sospeter Muhongo has directed his permanent secretary to investigate the claims by the lobby group, according to emails on the matter seen by The Citizen. His officers are implicated.
(Continued under the picture of The Citizen, front page)
The PCCB’s Director of Investigations, Mr Alex Mfungo, was also said to be looking into the same corruption conspiracy report, which is part of the lobby’s self–declare initiative to expose malpractices by multi-nationals.
This new development has come even as mediation continues between Acacia Mining and Bismark Hotels, the Tanzanian company which lost its mining permit in the said conspiracy.
Bismark Hotels filed the claim for $115 million compensation against Acacia for the loss of the mining permit in May 2015. The concession was for gold exploration and mining in an area covering about 17 square-kilometers.
Their partnership began in 1994 and terminated in 2012 when Bismark accused the gold conglomerate, which operated the disputed license and three others under the Pangea Minerals title, of gross negligence that occasioned the loss of one of the licenses. All the four licenses were owned by the Tanzanian firm and covered about 68 square kilometers.
According to Bismark, Acacia failed to renew the license for the 17 square kilometers of the original concession, exposing it to a loss of a potential mining business worth billions of shillings.
Lawyers representing the Tanzania firm say the company only discovered the permit hadn’t been renewed after the partnership was terminated and new alks were in progress to bring in international investors.
The disputed concession in Mgusu area in Geita district is now owned by Mogaka Wambura & Hamada Hamduni, another local mining firm who plan to start mining operations with a Chinese international partner during this year. The license had been put up for bidding when its date for renewal lapsed.
Acacia is challenging the huge demand for compensation in the ongoing mediation case in Dar es Salaam. The London-based company has in the past termed Bismark’s claim as “vexatious and baseless.”
“The claim related to a prospecting license with no attributable reserves, resources or value to the company and has no impact on any current or future operations in Tanzania,” the company was quoted as saying in an email sent to Bloomberg news agency last year when the matter was first made public.
But after months of research and inquiries, the private anti-corruption lobby group based in Dar es Salaam says it has proven how Bismark lost its land and license through negligence and inefficiency on Barrick-Acacia’s side in 2011 and then almost four years later, Acacia’s attempts to upset the legal processes of the Mining Act of 2010 by collusion with dishonest officials of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals.
LOSS OF LICENSE
The private citizens argue that Acacia negligently failed to renew the 17 square-kilometer concession as required by law. It however renewed the other three licenses. In fact, this license in question expired on May 17, 2011. It should have been renewed exactly 4 months later, i.e. on September 17, 2011 but Barrick-Acacia failed to renew and the land was “The Mining Act of 2010 states license renewals may only be submitted to the MEM exactly four months from the license’s expiry date. In fact, Barrick-Acacia was supposed to submit their license renewal application to
the MEM on September 17, 2011. Since the 17th fell on Saturday, the application date was moved to September 19”, says the lobby in documents filed with the Ministry and PCCB.
“They knew perfectly well about the license renewal laws in the Mining Act of 2010. Acacia has dozens of lawyers,” a member of the lobby said when contacted by The Citizen.
The source said it was not a coincidence that on the same Monday, September 19, 2011, four companies were present at the Ministry headquarters ready to submit their applications for this same Bismark land. Acacia was not present.
“Through this negligence, Acacia lost the gold-rich land and didn’t fulfil their contractual obligations to Bismark and return their land with license intact,” said the source.
The lobby has attached letters written by an official of the Ministry to Acacia and Bismark between April – July 2015 which it contends was meant to cover up the multi-national’s costly mistakes from almost four years “The letters were inaccurate, untruthful, inconsistent and assisted to cover up the massive losses and financial damages by a local company,” they The source told The Citizen that top government officials, including those in State House, have been informed on the possible corruption conspiracy in the whole matter.
On January 6, the lobby wrote to Acacia president, Kelvin Dushnisky telling him of the alleged conspiracy, to which he sent an email to say he had asked the company’s CEO, Brad Gordon, to ensure that an investigation is conducted.
In the mediation, Bismark is being represented by former Prime Minister, Judge (rtd) Joseph Warioba as its adjudicator whilst Acacia has selected Karel Daele, a partner in Mishcon de Reya law offices, London.
Lawyer Rosan Mbwambo who is also acting for Bismark told The Citizen the case was still being adjudicated for the amount filed as compensation and would therefore not speak on the reported report by the said anti-corruption lobby.
Efforts to reach Barrick-Acacia officials both by email and phone, went unanswered.
More to follow…..