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Acacia Mining on Tuesday reported that a senior manager of its Tanzanian businesses had been arrested and charged by the Tanzanian Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB).
The senior manager has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Acacia said it believed the senior manager was charged as an additional accused to some of the 39 criminal charges brought by the PCCB on October 17 against another Acacia employee and a former Acacia employee.
“We understand that he has been charged with various counts of tax evasion, forgery and money laundering, but have not yet seen a copy of the charge sheet.
“Acacia is deeply concerned about the increasing risks to the safety and security of its people given the criminal charges being brought by the government of Tanzania. The company believes these recent actions represent a significant escalation of governmental pressure, as the company’s 19-month dispute with the [government] remains unresolved and as the discussions between Barrick Gold Corporation and the [government] have not yet been concluded,” the company said in a statement.
Acacia noted that its parent company Barrick had not yet provided it with a proposal for a comprehensive resolution of the disputes that Barrick had been able to agree in principle with the Tanzanian government, despite their direct discussions since announcements were made in October 2017.
The dispute between Acacia and the Tanzanian government started in March 2017 when the country implemented a ban on copper and gold concentrate exports and a Presidential Committee accused Acacia of historically under-declaring the contents of its concentrate exports. Acacia has disputed the findings of the committee’s investigation.
The Tanzania Revenue Authority issued Acacia with adjusted tax assessments of a combined $200-billion over alleged unpaid taxes, penalties and interest.
Negotiations between the Tanzanian government and Barrick to resolve the dispute started in July 2017 and by October 2017, the parties announced that they had reached an agreement, which would result in the establishment of a new Tanzanian operating company to manage the existing Bulyanhulu, Buzwagi and North Mara mines, as well as future operations in the country.
Economic benefits from the three existing mines would be distributed on a 50:50 basis between the new operating company and the government. The government’s share of economic benefits would be delivered in the form of royalties, taxes and a 16% free-carry interest in the Tanzanian operations.
Further, Acacia was expected to make a one-off $300-million payment to the government to resolve outstanding tax claims.
Acacia on Tuesday said it was seeking Barrick’s proposals for the next steps in its discussions with the Tanzanian government, in which Acacia was not directly involved.source: miningweekly