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In Uganda the President’s family directly involved in the Gold Industry and the export of conflict minerals!

Basically what we do is taking advantage that I’m in government, it’s not a conflict of interest, I don’t use my position for conflict of interest issues, but it’s an advantage in itself.”Jackson Mayanja, TMT Mining and DGSM employee, August 2016

When you thought the Mineral Industry in the Republic of Uganda couldn’t be questioned more. There is a Global Witness report on the subject. That clearly shows signs of common cronyism and National Resistance Movement (NRM) who uses their connections to get better licenses and deals. The NRM and President Museveni, together with family members are in the midst of the transactions surrounding the Mineral Industry. Especially considering also the well-known fact that Ugandan government are helping with exports from South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. This been done with shaky licensee deals.

The report is spelling how Gen. Salim Selah or President Yoweri Museveni are parts of the inside the mineral trading and export from Uganda. The other NRM cronies and the brown envelopes that pays for the licenses and the insider knowledge of DGSM gives an edge. Instead of being ethical and protocol through the laws, instead it is more of the personal connections the owners of licenses has. Take a look!

Gen. Salim Selah and Ragga Dee connected with minerals:

Senior political figures appear ultimately to call the shots. Their patronage facilitates access to the sector and allows investors, including political elites, to flaunt the law. In one example, a small group of Belgian and Ugandan businessmen, with close ties to the President, were found to be shipping out hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold, apparently paying barely any taxes and failing to disclose the origins of the gold. Their exports may include gold which could be fuelling conflict in neighbouring DRC and South Sudan. In the absence of government data and evidence of rigorous supply chain checks it is not possible to tell” (…) “In one example, an Australian home loans broker with no evident experience of mining, was able to secure licences for over 6000km2 of land (more than any other company or individual Global Witness has seen) by making payments to DGSM officials, and later teamed up with pop star turned businessman, Ragga Dee, who has close ties to the president’s brother Salim Saleh” (Global Witness, P: 7, 2017).

Bwindi National Park:

One licensee is NRM MP Elizabeth Karungi, whose story is emblematic of how well placed individuals claim to be able to use their political connections for personal gain. The woman representative for Kanungu District told Global Witness that she was able to carry out mining activities in Bwindi because the former tourist minister Maria Mutagamba was a “good good friend.” It is remarkable that the DGSM saw fit to issue her with a licence in this area despite the obvious threat to the wildlife there. In a letter to Global Witness dated January 2017, Mutagamba claimed that she did not know who Elizabeth Karungi MP was, however Karungi was on the Committee of Tourism, Trade and Industry which held meetings with the Minister during her period in office. The DGSM Commissioner told Global Witness that mining activities in national parks require the permission of the Uganda Wildlife Authority”. (Global Witness, P:10, 2017)

Kilembe National Park:

One of these is the Tibet Hima Mining Company, which won a multi-million dollar contract to re-open the former colonial Kilembe Copper Mines on the border of Rwenzori in 2013. Two DGSM staff told Global Witness that the President instructed the government to partner with Tibet Hima. Global Witness wrote to President Museveni in December 2016 but has not received a response. As part of the deal, Tibet Hima also received two mining exploration licences that run deep into the national park and right up to the DRC border. The DGSM Commissioner told Global Witness that Tibet Hima had been awarded the concession through a competitive bidding process” (…) “As well as obtaining exploration licences inside a World Heritage site, Tibet Hima appears to have been carrying out operations at Kilembe – one of the largest mines in the country – without an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which is required by law. The company produced an environmental ‘project brief’ in February 2015, but this did not cover the activities witnessed by Global Witness staff at the site in November 2015” (Global Witness, P: 11-15, 2017).

Africa Gold Refinery:

African Gold Refinery is run by a small group of Belgian and Ugandan businessmen, including former government minister Richard Kaijuka, who are managing to ship hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold out of Uganda without disclosing its origin and paying very little tax in the process. They are the owners and managers of a newly built gold refinery on the shores of Lake Edward near Entebbe airport. Remarkably, Barnabas Taremwa: brother-in-law to Salim Saleh, Museveni’s most famous brother and Uganda’s de facto number two, told Global Witness that he had helped negotiate the company’s huge tax breaks with the government (corroborated by documents seen by Global Witness) and set up supply routes for the refinery” (Global Witness, P: 27, 2017).

When an undercover Global Witness staff member spoke to Kamuntu in November 2016, he claimed that he continued to export 10,000 tonnes of iron ore a month out of Uganda under the waiver he received from the President. He told us he ships out minerals as “samples” in order to avoid taxes. He explained that he was the only person in Uganda able to export iron ore. He also told Global Witness that he deals in minerals originating from the DRC, labelling them as Ugandan to get around regulations. Kamuntu said that he exports tantalite from the DRC, labelling it as iron ore to pay less tax. If this is true then conflict minerals from Eastern DRC could be entering the international supply chain via Kamuntu’s shipments. Perhaps most remarkable of all is the fact that Kamuntu told us that “as a local person” he had paid US$10,000 to a third party to get a meeting with the President, in order to seek the permission he needed to continue with his business. (The price for foreign investors is US$15,000, according to Kamuntu.) A letter from the President to the Mining Minister explains that the two met at a private Chamber of Mines and Petroleum event. Global Witness wrote to President Museveni and Mr Kamuntu in December 2016 but never received a response” (Global Witness, P: 42, 2017).

AGR ownership:

Alain Goetz, who is also the CEO of the company, a Belgian national, is one of the most famous dealers of Congolese gold in recent history. During the 90s the Alain and his father Tony, who died in 2005, were reported as dominating gold exports from the Congo through their networks to Belgium and later Dubai” (…) “Mr Barnabas Taremwa, who previously worked for AGR is the brother in law of Salim Saleh, the President’s brother. AGR told Global Witness in a letter dated January 2017 that Taremwa’s sister and Salim Saleh had divorced three years ago, seemingly in an attempt to distance themselves from the General. However, Salim Saleh told Global Witness that “Barnabas Taremwa is still my brother in law and it is false and an insult to me for you to state that I divorced his sister.” (…) “Richard Henry Kaijuka is the Chairman of AGR.160 According to an article in Africa Energy in June 2011, Mr Kaijuka is “a childhood friend of President Yoweri Museveni, who fell out with the regime after he opposed a controversial constitutional amendment in 2005 that removed presidential term limits.” (Global Witness, P: 73, 2017).

Infinity Minerals:

Ragga Dee, whose real name is Daniel Kyeyune Kazibwe, is a popstar turned businessman, famous as much for being the first musician in Uganda to own a Hummer as he is for his music. Ragga Dee does not appear on any of the company documents relating to Ellie’s companies, however while discussing his business interests in an interview with Uganda’s Observer newspaper in 2015 Ragga Dee said, “I also mine for gold under my other company, Infinity Minerals” (…) “Global Witness has identified two sales of Infinity’s rights to other investors after Ellie left Uganda. In the first instance a company called Afrisam Cement Uganda Limited paid US$75,000 for prospecting access to licence number EL1083 which was held by Infinity” (…) “The whole episode raises serious questions about the way that licences are awarded, the licence transfer process, and the accuracy of the mining cadastre. If the information on the cadastre is inaccurate or wilfully misrepresented this has serious impacts for the governance of the sector. While AfriSam appears to have received its licence through the proper channels at the DGSM questions remain about the way that Sunbird acquired its licence. In a letter dated January 2017, Salim Saleh told Global Witness that the Big Picture Corporation, a company which is part owned by his wife, is “one of the companies which duly applied for, and inherited, the expired Licences previously held by Infinity Minerals Limited, under TN 2370.” According to the Cadastre, however, this application, which was made after the licence had expired, was rejected” (Global Witness, P: 48 – 51, 2017).

Special Export:

The latest OAG report noted that during the financial year 2015/16, the DGSM assessed royalty and awarded export permits for only 93kgs of gold worth just over US$3 million. However, reports from the Customs and Excise Department of Uganda Revenue Authority indicated that 5,316 kgs of gold had been exported with a total value of US$195 million. Accordingly, Government should have collected between US$2 million and US$9.7 million in royalties depending on the applicable rates of 1% and 5% for the imported or locally mined gold respectively” (Global Witness, P: 74, 2017).

If you didn’t think there was anything fishy in the trades, in the Mineral Ministry and the Mineral Resources Exports in Uganda. This here reports proves the amounts of gold exported combined with the gold extracted. That these numbers doesn’t add-up. This together with the NRM leadership and the closest partners in and around the President. Therefore, it is even his own family involved in the mineral industry. This reports is saying what people and rumors has been, therefore, the implications of the government, the president in the business, and also they are involved in exporting and cleaning conflict minerals for the exporters of South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. This is not surprising for the ones following the situation. Peace.

Reference:

Global Witness – Under-Mined (June 2017)

First Responsible and Conflict-Free Artisanal Gold Supply Chain Operational in Eastern Congo (17.05.2017)

The Just Gold project is the first to successfully trace conflict-free and legal artisanal gold from mine site to export applying regional and international standards.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 17, 2017 –  Partnership Africa Canada (PACweb.org) today announced the Just Gold project has successfully implemented a system to trace legal and conflict-free artisanal gold in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Just Gold project began as a pilot in Ituri Province in 2015. Today’s announcement is a milestone for the project—moving it from the pilot stage—having proven a successful chain of custody from mine site to exporter.

“After almost two years of testing the Just Gold project with an aim to develop a chain of custody and due diligence system for artisanal gold in DRC, we are excited to share news of our success,” said Joanne Lebert, Partnership Africa Canada’s Executive Director.

“The Just Gold project can now move from a period of testing to implementation and ensuring we have a long-term, sustainable and viable solution for traceable, legal and conflict-free exports of artisanal gold from Congo,” said Lebert.  “We look forward to sharing our lessons learned with key actors and to deepening our collaboration with the DRC Government.”

The Just Gold project creates incentives for artisanal gold miners to channel their product to legal exporters—and eventually responsible consumers—by offering fair and transparent pricing and by providing capacity-building, such as technical assistance to miners in return for legal sales. Miners are taught better exploitation techniques and offered Juts Gold project equipment, in return for which any gold produced must be tracked and sold through legal channels.

“Proving that artisanal gold in eastern Congo can be conflict-free, legal and traceable is a major step in responsible sourcing efforts in the Great Lakes region. The government of Democratic Republic of Congo is taking major strides in complying with regional standards and demonstrating how the implementation the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains can contribute to progressive improvements in the sector, supporting artisanal gold men and women miners to enter international markets,” said Lebert.

Partnership Africa Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Minister of Mines Martin Kabwelulu on September 2016, outlining support for the organization’s activities to strengthen natural resource governance. Specifically, the Ministry of Mines recognized the Just Gold project as a system of traceability and encouraged its implementation. Partnership Africa Canada has provided technical support to the Ministry since 2011.

Current activities in DRC include the Just Gold project, capacity building to implement both the International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGLR) Regional Certification Mechanism (RCM) and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance applicable to high-value minerals, as well as support to civil society for monitoring and reporting on supply chain integrity.

Partnership Africa Canada has also undertaken research and analysis of the artisanal gold supply chain to understand women’s roles in the sector. Through sensitization and outreach, the Just Gold project improves awareness of women’s rights, and their right to access, control and benefit of resources. The project also supports and fosters women’s leadership opportunities through skills-building and training.

Partnership Africa Canada’s work in DRC developed from its engagement as a technical partner to the ICGLR, providing capacity-building to implement the six tools developed by the ICGLR’s Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources.

Funding for the Just Gold project and Partnership Africa Canada’s work in the Great Lakes region is provided by Global Affairs Canada. Additional funding for the Just Gold project is provided by USAID through the Capacity Building for Responsible Minerals Trade (CBRMT) project and International Organization for Migration.

UN World Food Programme in diplomatic tangle because of the Rwandese beans exported to Burundi (12.04.2017)

Rwanda 1994: Gen. Paul Kagame letter of 10. August 1994 (Confidentiel)

Burundi: Le Ministère de la Défense Nationale annonce qu’aucun Groupe armé n’a été aperçu traversant la frontière entre le Burundi et le Rwanda (13.03.2017)

Opinion: Suddenly President Kagame doesn’t want Rwanda to be dependent on the West!

For Africa as we wait to see what unfolds and adjust, we should be learning the lesson that we should not be entirely dependent. We will wake up to the reality there are things we should be doing for ourselves. You have made it appear that your situations are perfect and you want others to emulate you. Then you are surprised by what unfolds. It is what you have been hitting us with that is coming back to bite you. I did not change the constitution. If you want to know the truth you will find it is the people who did, not me. My satisfaction lies in the truth that we have not been involved in harming our people. What we are doing is to develop our country. If we don’t take care of ourselves, no one else will. As long as Rwandans are happy, we will keep doing what needs to be done. We will be listening to what others say but we will not be distracted from what needs to be done.”

-President Paul Kagame speaks to Gerard Baker, editor in chief of the Wall Street Journal, at the closing session of Invest in Africa conference.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, the long lingering Executive of Rwanda has compelled his words against dependency of the West. Surely, he has had this in mind for while in his own haven, as the Rwandan government has been a donor friendly. Therefore, that he claims now to take a stand against them shows the sudden change of attitude. However, it is sudden donors and programs that have stopped coming Kagame’s way, therefore the Rwandan government have started to run a giant tab of external debt instead of donor aid grants. Like look at some quotes from companies that establish the economic output and the financial flow of nations, like Deloitte and KPMG!

Rising debt:

“According to BMI, total external debt levels in the country have been rising steadily in recent years, from 16.1% of GDP in 2010 to an estimated 30.5% of GDP in 2015. Debt levels for 2016 and total external debt are forecast to amount to 35.2% of GDP and will be composed mostly of government debt” (Deloitte, P: 4, 2016).

Failing Foreign Aid, therefore rising debt:

“The primary headwind to the Rwandan economy in the 2016-2025 period will be the impact on debt as a result of falling foreign aid. Despite prudent fiscal policies to date, increases in debt levels will follow from the fall in foreign aid, since Rwanda is now deemed fit to transition from grant-based financing to loan-based financing by the IMF” (Deloitte, P: 5,2016).  “The government has been compelled to adopt a more prudent fiscal policy stance in an attempt to reduce the country’s dependence on donor support and increase fiscal autonomy. Recent external headwinds have encouraged the government to ease demand for imports by reassessing its infrastructure investment programme. This will undoubtedly have a negative impact on economic growth. That being said, the benefits of lower donor dependence and improved macroeconomic stability should outweigh the costs related to lower growth over the short term. Turning to external balances, Rwanda’s wide merchandise trade deficit is expected to maintain a shortfall in the overall current account going forward” (KPMG, P: 4, 2016).

“Aid harmonization has been improved and progress continues to be registered in the implementation of the Paris and Busan commitments especially the use of national budget and procurement systems. The Bank was the 6th largest Official Development Assistance (ODA) provider to Rwanda in 2013/14, accounting for 9.4% of total ODA26. The World Bank and EU invest in agriculture and energy whereas the leading bilateral DPs focus, among other things, on human development and social protection (Annex 8a). Annex 8b summarizes the progress made in implementing selected indicators as captured by the Donor Performance Assessment Framework. Use of the sector budget support (SBS) instrument has increased the share of Bank support disbursed using country systems. Under the DPCG, the Bank actively participates in activities to enhance the implementation of EDPRS II such as the 2014/15 assessment of SWGs” (AfDB, P: 9, 2016).

So if you look at the financial policies of the republic of Rwanda, some of it is not really chosen as the donors funds that has been suspended or stopped might be for several of reasons. That might be that if they accept the funds they have to follow a spectre of policies and interferes with the power that Kagame wish to achieve. The RPF and Kagame has total control of Rwanda, the export and the import, also owns dozens of the businesses. So the Rwandan government had to switch their economy with more loans, instead of donor aid. The loans are coming in through external debt as the external donor funds and grants have dwindled.

Therefore, the excuse of suddenly wanting to be independent is more a need, than a wish. If it was a wish earlier, than the AGOA or USAID to the RPF would have stopped decades ago. That should be common knowledge of the relationship between Paul Kagame and Bill Clinton. It is not that it is positive that the Rwandan Government want’s less aid is a healthy stance. Still, the excuse isn’t eaten by me.

The reality is that the increased debt instead of donor grants will hurt the economy, as the levied interest rates and other cost will hurt the economy. It isn’t healthy to be dependent of the aid either, but the reasons now seem more to reactionary than real intent. I am sure Paul Kagame would love funds from Belgium and France to build hospitals and clinics in rural regions of Rwanda. So, suddenly the West isn’t good enough, especially when they are questioning his reasons for staying in power and not having any successors while his regime is keeping a close lid on the opposition. Therefore, the economy and independent from the world becomes more important because then he needs to less show of transparency and accountability. Peace.

Reference:

AfDB – ‘RWANDA BANK GROUP COUNTRY STRATEGY PAPER 2017 – 2021 (October, 2016).

Deloitte – ‘Rwanda Economic Outlook 2016 The Story Behind the Numbers’ (June 2016)

KPMG – ‘Economic Snapshot H2, 2016 – Rwanda’ (15.10.2016) link:

https://home.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/za/pdf/2016/10/KPMG-Rwanda-2016-Snapshot.pdf

RDC: “Les députés nationaux de l’Ituri membres du PPRD suspendent leurs cotisations & s’en prennent à Amb. Henri Mova” (26.12.2016)

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RDC: Declaration sur les Massacres prepetres par les Presumes ADF/NALU du 17 au 26/12/2016

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RDC: “Detournementes des fondes des menages destines aux policiers de le Leni/Beni (31.10.2016)

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Communique de la Septieme Reunion de haut niveau du Mecanisme Regional de suivi de l’Accord-cadre pour la paix, la Securite et la Cooperation pour la Republique Democratique du Congo et la Region (26.10.2016)

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