CAN TANZANIA & ACACIA MINING / BARRICK GOLD REACH SOLUTIONS ?

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT J.P. MAGUFULI

CAN TANZANIA & ACACIA MINING / BARRICK REACH SOLUTIONS WHEN ACACIA’S MAIN P.R. SUPPORT PEOPLE ARE EXPOSED AROUND THE WORLD AS CORRUPT, FRAUDS, FAKE-NEWS AND WORSE?

Dear Hon. Dr. Magufuli

We all in Tanzania stand behind you to bring solutions to the crisis of Acacia Mining and their threats to close their mines (which very few believe) due to their fraudulent and dishonest exports of the mineral gold ore from their mines.  On the one hand, Acacia Mining should be strongly forced to pay penalties and back taxes and export royalties for the decades that they exported the mineral ore.  On the other hand, we care about our People and want companies to succeed and give our workers jobs and contribute to our communities.   This is a very difficult and delicate situation and Tanzanian’s would not want anyone one else to bring solutions except for you, Mr. President.

It is very disturbing that Acacia Mining’s public announcements even in their website, are all including their Public Relations and Media advisors, Bell Pottinger.

Mr. President, earlier this year, when Acacia were advertising around the world that they are discussing a merger with Endeavour Mining, we wrote to you with factual research about Endeavour Mining and their owners and their top management.  Praise the Lord for Tanzania that Endeavour did not proceed with the merger.

Now, we have another situation of better the devil we know than the devil we don’t know.  This Bell Pottinger company from London, UK, has been referred to in the media as “The Devil’s representative worldwide.”  Truly frightening words for us in Tanzania.  And they sit side by side with Acacia Mining and Bell Pottinger even sign Acacia’s announcements, including their contact details!

SO WHY ARE ACACIA’S ADVISORS REFERRED TO AS “THE DEVIL’S REPRESENTATIVE…”?

Following are only some of the research found in the internet.  There is much more:

Media reports openly state that Bell Pottinger (BellP) are/were consultants and/or advisors for the dictators of Chile, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Belarus, Bahrain, Egypt and Syria.  If that is not enough, BellP also work for the polluting oil company, Trafigura and, most recently, the fracking company (underground gas & oil exploration that is proven to destroy the environment), Cuadrilla Resources.

Mr. President, if the above is not bad enough, BellP are deeply linked to the corruption, fraud and protection of the Gupta-Jacob Zuma financial scandals that are tearing South Africa apart.  It is published that the Gupta’s were paying BellP over US$125,000 every month to support and cover up what Gupta’s and Zuma were doing in South Africa.

One must wonder (and worry) about the US$460 million that Jacob Zuma deposited in Dubai last month (from the Gupta’s).  And BellP were there all along supporting the corruption and fraudulent operations.

A Radio station in South Africa reported on their website that Victoria Geoghegan, a partner at London-based BellP, has made it her business to undo the work of NELSON MANDELA, DESMOND TUTU and other freedom struggle supporters who built up South Africa following decades of conflict and hardship in the apartheid era.
“Madiba” Mandela, Tokyo Sexwale, Ahmed Kathrada and many other anti-apartheid activists sacrificed the best years of their lives in jail hardships in order to deliver a better future to the oppressed black majority of South Africa.
It has taken only a few years for Victoria Geoghegan and BellP to help bring South Africa to its knees.

The Radio station’s website reports:
“There is no way to put it nicely: Victoria Geoghegan represents all that is rotten with the public relations industry and public companies fuelled by short-term shareholder greed. It is hard to imagine a more evil operation than Bell Pottinger.”

The Citizen media website (in South Africa) reported that BellP worked to divide Jacob Zuma’s opposition based upon racial lines.  This actively creates an even more violent society, especially at a time when it is difficult to separate fact from false news.

Biznews.com exposed last week that BellP was hired by the Gupta’s to organize a campaign to create the monster of white monopoly capital in South Africa.  Their strategy to highlight the beast of white monopoly capital in the media and at political rallies is designed to build animosity towards critics of President Zuma and his clique and shift blame for the country’s economic woes away from those in political control.

The Huffington Post questioned if BellP helped get rid of the ex-Minister, Pravin Gordhan? The report continues saying  BellP’s notorious black ops may have prepared the ground for the former finance minister’s axing in which the former finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, was fired due to BellP’s fake news campaign?

According to South African lawyers, BellP was a key player in a conspiracy that distributed manufactured evidence to attack innocent parties. Among them the corruption allegations against former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.

Mr. President, how can BellP be part of our future Acacia Mining solutions when they stand for the exact opposite of our new Tanzania?

Now we move to the USA:
In 2016, investigations revealed BellP was paid by the USA Pentagon around USA$540 million for top secret Iraq propaganda.   This included the creation of fake videos and other forms of propaganda to assist the US military and also to smoke out al Qaeda operatives.

Journalists from the Bureau for Investigative Journalism wrote:  “Bell Pottinger produced reams of material for the Pentagon, some of it going far beyond standard communications work”.

In the first media interview any BellP employee has given about the work for the US military in Iraq, video editor Martin Wells said his “time in Camp Victory (in Iraq) was shocking, eye-opening, life-changing.”

Now we move to the UK:
The Independent reported that Tim Fallon was exposed in a company expenses fraud at BAA.  On top of the fraud, Fallon was reported to have forged his boss’s signature!
The fraud involved expenses also relating to a general election campaign (for the British Parliament).  Later, Fallon became a director of Bell Pottinger.

In another report by The Independent, the Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, attacked Bell Pottinger for ‘ethical blindness’.  BellP were caught and they admitted altering details of BellP’s clients’ reputations online.  It was reported that hundreds of entries on the Wikipedia site were changed by Bell Pottinger without the subjects’ knowledge.

The report said that the digital team at BellP used a number of false user-accounts to edit Wikipedia articles. Mr. Wales was quoted saying:  “I am astonished at the ethical blindness of Bell Pottinger’s reaction. That their strongest true response is they didn’t break the law tells a lot about their view of the world, I’m afraid.  The company (BellP) committed the cardinal sin of a PR and lobbying company of having their own bad behaviour bring bad headlines to their clients, [and] did so in a fashion that brought no corresponding benefits.”

Still in the UK, The Independent exposed the scandal that BellP senior executives were caught on camera boasting how they influence the British Prime Minister.  The BellP executves were secretly recorded boasting about its access to the heart of the Government and how it uses the “dark arts” to bury bad coverage and influence public opinion.

An undercover investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, published in The Independent, taped the senior executives at BellP.

Mr. President, how can BellP be part of our future Acacia Mining solutions when they stand for the exact opposite of our new Tanzania?

Now we move to Malaysia:
Media reports openly exposed Taib Mahmud, the Governor/Chief Minister of Sarawak state in Malaysia for hiring BellP to falsely and illegally alter Wikipedia entries about themselves, their companies, Sarawak state and many others.

The false changes that BellP arranged for Taib included for himself, Sean Murray (Taib’s son-in-law), Ridgeford Properties (the Taib family company in the UK), Christopher Murray (Sean’s cousin and the Director of Ridgeford Properties), Sakto (the Taib family company in Canada), Sarawak (which Taib largely owns in Malaysia) and Clare Rewcastle Brown, (ex-UK Prime Minster Gordon Brown), editors of blogs, Radio Stations, and more.

Controversies of corruption and fraud followed Taib for decades that he was Governor of Sarawak state.  BellP was there to support him.

Now we move to Serbia:
The Open Source Investigations website exposed that BellP was linked to Serbia Prime Minister Vučić who was caught for corruption – he illegally used public funds for political campaign.

BellP was exposed of “cleaning” the PM’s profile on the internet.
Then the Serbian government lied when it denied being the BellP’s client.
The fact is that BellP is working for and supporting Serbia PM Vučić’s dictatorial regime.

Now we move to Malawi:
The Nyasa Times revealed that ex-President Joyce Banda committed Malawi illegally into an arms deal with the South African arms dealer, Paramount Group.  They are reported as having purchased patrol boats for Lake Malawi.  The whole deal with Paramount Group was corrupt and illegal.  Later, it was reported that the President even bypassed the Ministry of Finance and even concealed even from the Malawi parliament!
The Mail & Guardian reported that the purchase was not even passed by government’s procurement committee.

Even worse, it is estimated that up to US$250 million may have been lost through allegedly fraudulent payments to businessmen for services that were not rendered.  Reports exposed that computer records of some transactions carried out between July and September 2013 were deleted.

Another corruption scandal was the exposure of the Malawi Presidential private jet that President Banda sold to a Paramount Group off-shore company and yet, President Banda had free unlimited use of the jet!

Reports stated openly President Banda realized that her time in the presidential seat may soon come to an end, so she followed the footsteps of other corrupt African leaders and stole from her country.  And there was BellP to support her, to guide her, to help her and to “polish her image”.  The London-based Daily Telegraph reported that payments for BellP’s services came in a round-about way from Paramount Group – in other words, payment for these patrol boats included payment for BellP’s services.

Is it a surprise that BellP sign off on media announcements of Paramount Group – without any shame of including their name and contact details?  The deeper one digs, the more the story smells – and BellP was there, all the way!

Now we move to Panama:
Last year, The Star website exposed Victor Dahdaleh, British-Canadian billionaire as the  “mysterious middleman in corruption schemes that enriched himself with US$ 400 million and he paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) linked Dahdaleh to Alcoa, one of the world’s largest aluminum companies.   In 2014, Alcoa was forced to plead guilty in the corruption for paying “millions of dollars in bribes through an international middleman” in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  That middleman was Dahdaleh.

In addition to the DOJ guilty verdict, Alcoa also settled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and was slammed with one of the largest anti-corruption fines ever — US$ 384 million.  In a plea agreement with the SEC, Alcoa admitted its involvement in the corruption scheme which “facilitated at least $110 million in corrupt payments to Bahraini officials” – of course through Dahdelah.
And who was there to support and assist Dahdelah through the crisis?  None other than BellP.

Besides the above disgusting, corrupt, illegal and unethical story, it is no surprise that Dahdaleh and Peter Munk, ex-owner of Barrick Gold feature together in a multitude of media reports over the years.  Who can argue that “birds of a feather flock together”.

Now we move to Sri Lanka:
The Sri Lanka Civil War was about 3 decades long, it was cruel, fierce and unbearable by any means and independent reports estimated the number of civilian’s dead exceeded 100,000.
The Washington Post reported that President Mahinda Rajapaksa took the war to the opposition with unprecedented ruthlessness and single-mindedness.  The campaign, referred to as “scorched-earth” cost tens of thousands of lives.
A U.N. report called for an investigation into war crimes by both sides, accusing the Sri Lankan military of indiscriminate shelling and denying civilians access to humanitarian aid.

The Colombo Telegraph exposed the direct involvement of BellP in President Rajapaksa’s office.  “Senior executives at Bell Pottinger told undercover reporters that they were so influential (with the President) that they had written a key speech given by the Sri Lankan President to the United Nations” The Independent says.
David Wilson, ex-BellP Managing Director, was quoted as saying “We had a team working in the President’s office. We wrote the President’s speech to the UN…..”
Why are BellP so proud to be advisors to dictators and cruel regimes?

Mr. President, how can BellP be part of our future Acacia Mining solutions when they stand for the exact opposite of our new Tanzania?

Now we move closer to home, to the Dem. Republic of Congo (DRC):
Soco International, one of the UK’s 200 largest public companies, is a British oil company.
Global Witness exposed Soco International making illegal payments to DRC rebels and a local MP for lobbying in its favour. Also, Soco appear to have paid off armed rebels and benefited from fear and violence fostered by government security forces in eastern Congo, as they sought access to Africa’s oldest national park for oil exploration.  Bribery and corruption at its best!
Activists and park rangers opposing Soco’s oil exploration in the DRC National Park have been badly beaten.  Human rights crimes!

If a picture says a thousand words, this video on YouTube says a million words – exposing Soco bribes and corruption in the DRC.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXVaIkKFjxY

Is it a surprise that BellP sign off on media announcements of Soco International – without any shame of including their name and contact details?  Where you find bribery, corruption, fraud… you find BellP there, all the way!

Now we move to Syria:
The Syrian civil war conflict is now over six years old.  The website, www.iamsyria.org, reports the death count in Syria as 470,000 of which 55,000 are children.  Do we have to say another word about the President Dictator Assad regime?  No words can describe such a tragedy and loss of humanity in every sense of the word.

The Independent reported that BellP worked for Assad’s wife, Asma, to create “a friendlier image of the Assad family”.  Only God knows how that would be possible but BellP took the job.  After all, why not – the Assad regime is similar to their other clients?

Now we move to Uzbekistan:
The media is full of reports that President Dictator Islam Karimov who held power from 1991 until his death last year, was amongst the worst dictators in modern day history.  Karimov was responsible for killings, human rights violations and child labour.

And BellP was right there, without any shame, to support and assist the Uzbek government.  The annual fee offered by the Uzbek officials to BellP was about £1 million (in those years, that was equal to US$ 1,5 million).  BellP was willing and ready to work for that sick regime!

Now we move to Ivory Coast:
Trafigura is a UK company and oil trader. Trafigura planned and carried out the dumping of hundreds of tons of toxic oil waste in a densely populated area of the Ivory Coast, with devastating effects. It was almost immediately called one of the worst pollution disasters in recent history. Any journalist who tried to report this was gagged using legal threats and demands for the correction and removal of media articles and programmes.

Thousands of West Africans were hospitalized and many died. Of course, the UK executives at Trafigura publicly claimed the dumped toxic oil waste was “harmless”.  Official local autopsy reports on 12 alleged victims showed fatal levels of the poisonous gas hydrogen sulphide (that was one of the lethal byproducts in the toxic oil waste.  Greenpeace and Amnesty International launched a legal action in Amsterdam against Trafigura, calling for the oil firm to be prosecuted there for homicide or grievous bodily harm. It said: “This intentional pollution … has caused many people to suffer serious injuries and has even led to death.”

British lawyers, representing 31,000 Africans, started legal action against Trafigura.  But we know (even here in Tanzania) British companies have deep pockets for long, long legal battles.  Trafigura fought in the courts for 3 years.  The Guardian reported, after three years of fighting in court, that dozens of damning internal Trafigura emails were exposed and revealed how the London-based company employers were told in advance that their planned chemical operation, a cheap and dirty process called “caustic washing”, generated such dangerous wastes, it was widely outlawed.  Even Claude Dauphin, the managing director, was pre-warned by the London manager, Naeem Ahmed, at that time.
But Trafigura still proceeded with their fatal plans that would destroy tens of thousands of families and so much of West Africa’s marine environment.

Finally, after 3 years of legal battle, and exposure of the internal emails, Trafigura eventually paid out damages of more than £100 million (at that time, approx US$ 150 millon).
And BellP was right there, without any shame, to support and assist Trafigura.

Mr. President, how can BellP be part of our future Acacia Mining solutions when they stand for the exact opposite of our new Tanzania?

The list goes on and on.  Same pattern, different country, same BellP scenario.

One could argue that Bell Pottinger is not doing anything illegal.  The fact that they are being paid to “protect” and “support” those who are acting illegally, what does that tell us?  They are side by side with Acacia Mining.  How can we find solutions when the clouds of crime against human rights, illegal dealings, bribery, corruption, dishonesty, immorality and total lack of ethics, all hang over Acacia Mining with these Bell Pottinger people right there ?

Maybe the cherry on the top of the cake is the knowledge that Acacia Mining’s UK lawyers, Quinn & Emanuel, they are the same lawyers that sent us the threaten letter, they are listed in multiple media reports that they ALSO are linked to working with Bell Pottinger.  Some might ask if this whole collection of people/companies is one big collection of toxic waste?

May God bless you and grant you wisdom and understanding for your loyal and dedicated work that you do for our country.

May God bless Tanzania and all our Nation.

Samantha Cole

 

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