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Sierra Leone Business: John Sisay fights back as … Iluka says it went into acquisition with “Eyes Open”

Managing Director Illuka

Managing Director Illuka

John Sisay

John Sisay

APC presidential candidate hopeful John Bonoh Sisay has issued a straight denial against bribery allegations which surfaced last week in the International media saying “I categorically deny the allegation that I oversaw the payments of bribes, whether in the form of payment of travel costs or otherwise, in order to secure mining licences.”
The allegations are that as CEO of Sierra Rutile, Sisay oversaw bribery payments to senior government officials to secure mining licenses inherited by Iluka. Also that fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) to provide a government minister with international flight tickets.
Sisay said in a statement that, “At no stage whilst CEO of Sierra Rutile did I authorise improper payments of any kind to any Sierra Leone Government officials for any reason.”
He added “Moreover, Sierra Rutile operated in accordance with government standards and all major decisions including any around the issues specified in the Standard Times were approved by the board of Sierra Rutile Limited.”
Sisay accused Fairfax Media who broke the story of denying him the opportunity to respond saying “At no stage was I given the opportunity to comment on this article before publication, which I regard as a clear and highly dubious breach of recognized professional standards of journalism.”
He further accused Fairfax Media of playing the political card saying “… from the timing of the publication of these false allegations and from the fact that recklessly they were not put to me for comment in advance of publication, I believe it is clear that the intended effect is to influence the up-coming party leadership elections and interfere with the proper democratic process.”
Sisay maintained “It will not work. I trust the people of Sierra Leone to be far too smart and proud to let foreign outside influences impact on their vote.”
Meanwhile the Australian Miner (Iluka) says it has given up the three exploration licenses which it believes were acquired “under circumstances inconsistent with Iluka’s code of conduct,” and it has reapplied for the licences “according to proper procedure”.
The Managing Director Tom O’Leary said Wednesday while addressing shareholders “Iluka is committed to conducting its business in accordance with the highest standards of corporate governance and has a zero tolerance for bribery and corruption.”
“”We went into the acquisition with our eyes open and as you would expect we did a thorough review post acquisition once we were in control.”
“I think due diligence can take you so far, but where matters are not of the nature that are going to be uncovered by typical processes then they are not [going to be uncovered].”
He furthered “We have taken the steps that anyone would expect of us in terms of voluntarily reporting those and we have received very strong support from the Sierra Leonean government in respect to our actions so no, it hasn’t changed our view [on Africa].”
Monday August 12, 2017.

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