By Samantha Cole of Tanzania Business Ethics
Ms. Katrina White, the Acacia Mining “legal eagle” in London has suddenly “disappeared”.
Katrina was a very well known personality around Dar es Salaam being a very regular visitor whilst fulfilling her duties as Head of Legal Services and Compliance at Acacia Mining Plc and also the official Acacia Company Secretary.
We called the Acacia offices in London and were told that Katrina White no longer works there. We asked for Giles Blackman, media spokesman for Acacia, but he was unavailable to comment.
When we looked on the Acacia Mining website for Katrina White, at the link below, we found that she has been completely removed from the Acacia website.
Katrina has disappeared totally from her position as Head of Legal services and Company Secretary.
We contacted Peter Spora, Vice-President and Head of Discovery at Acacia to ask about Katrina but he also would not comment.
All very mysterious…….. the total disappearance of such a key personality at Acacia.
Katrina was also known as Director of North Mara Mine.
One must ask what the shareholders of Acacia Mining and Barrick Gold are thinking, or worrying, since there has been no public announcement at all about Katrina.
According to Acacia’s last published financial report, as at 30 June 2016, the Group was a defendant in approximately 255 lawsuits.
The total amounts claimed from lawsuits in which specific monetary damages are sought amounted to US$234.9 million. The Group’s Legal Counsel is defending the Group’s current position, and the outcome of the lawsuits cannot presently be determined.
Included in the total amounts claimed is a claim for US$115 million by Bismark Hotel Limited alleging breach of contract arising from an Optional Agreement signed in 1995.
The above represents huge financial damages – 255 law suits for about US$ 235 million and Katrina White, who was head of legal counsel, was responsible for handling all those cases.
The growing catastrophic situation of Acacia Mining in Tanzania over the past year must lend much weight to the leadership crisis that is being witnessed recently.
** Last year, Acacia got involved in fraud and a corruption conspiracy with at least one official in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals. In February this year, the conspiracy was exposed in the media;
** The Tax Authorities found Acacia guilty of tax evasion whilst paying millions of US Dollars (or British Pounds) to their shareholders in the UK and Canada;
** The Tanzania Parliament publicly lambasted both Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining by name for fraud and corruption and “bullying” local mining companies;
** Acacia were exposed for a conflict of interest for their defence in the US$ 115 million case against them by Bismark Hotel;
** The exports of Acacia’s mining sand were exposed as fraudulent and President Magufuli placed a ban on the export of mining sand;
** The Tanzanian President, Dr. John P. Magufuli, publicly stated that mining companies not making profits here must go back home (i.e. Acacia Mining)
** Mother company Barrick Gold really wants to sell daughter Acacia Mining as soon as possible but there are not buyers (that we know of) because of the mess of Acacia Mining in Tanzania (see here and here for full details and explanations)
** and the list goes on and on…
With Katrina White’s unexpected disappearance from Acacia Mining, Chairman Kelvin Dushnisky and CEO Brad Gordon will surely be groping around frantically to fill the void left so suddenly and so mysteriously by Katrina White!
More problems and more worries for the Acacia Mining shareholders?
Indeed, worries for the Barrick Gold shareholders too since Barrick still owns about 64% of Acacia Mining … which they cannot sell due to the turmoil and disarray of the management under Brad Gordon’s weak leadership.