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Sierra Leone Business: Rogues have stolen our mining wealth – Bio tells EITI Confab

President Maada Bio has told the African Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) Conference in Dakar that, “rogue beneficiaries have squandered wealth” from the mining industry in Africa. Explaining he said that the history of governance and management in the industry has produced mixed results. “In one way, revenues from the extractive industries have financed transformational development projects and infrastructure to provide social services for our citizens.” On the other hand, he noted, “In a more gruesome and tragic way, the exploitation of extractive resources has regrettably financed some of Africa’s most brutal armed conflicts.” He pointed out that “More worryingly,” was the fact that “rogue actors and rogue beneficiaries have squandered wealth from extractives through opaque ownership arrangements and illicit international financial flows,” The President then disclosed that “The Sierra Leone Minerals Policy that is now in the final stages of review, includes provisions to ensure that companies bid for licence; licenced operators in the extractive industries declare their beneficial owners and interests.” Further he said, “We are also reviewing the Corporate Affairs Governance Code and developing a more detailed activity and monitoring plan. Additionally, we plan extensive public information and civic engagement on the core points of reform, while building our capacity to manage the extractives sector.” Emphasising his anti-corruption crusade President Bio said, “For my government in Sierra Leone, promoting transparency and accountability in the extractive industries is not only about promoting good governance. It is about doing good business.”  Moreover he said, “It attracts credible and identifiable investors into the sector and it enhances transparency and accountability for the proceeds from the extractives sector. My country will therefore continue to consistently use EITI tools to continually improve management of the overall extractive sector for the benefit of citizens of Sierra Leone.” “We have been using various tools and different approaches to fight corruption,” he said. “But we believe corruption fights back. Beneficial ownership is a useful and welcome addition to our toolbox to fight corruption in the management of extractives especially as it helps us address corruption by politically exposed persons who have been, for far too long, deeply affiliated with or served as undeclared proxy owners of various businesses in the extractive sector.” He added, “It also helps us fight against illicit international money laundering and other illicit financial flows that are facilitated through complicity with government and other officials.” President Bio promised to work towards the EITI’s deadline of making information on beneficial ownership public by 2020.

Monday November 05, 2018.

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