The Panama Papers that exposed tax haven and money laundering in the world has exposed Sierra Leone’s National Mineral Agency (NMA) as an inept and inefficient agency
The National Mineral Agency is the Agency that was set up by Government to ensure that the people of Sierra Leone benefited hugely from the God-given resources.
According to the Panama Papers, incomplete diamond export data, show that during some months from 2012 to 2015, Octea exported more than US$330 million in rough diamonds, noting that “dozens of creditors are waiting to be paid, including the government of Sierra Leone and Standard Chartered Bank. If these debts are not paid, the company could lose its license.”
The paper also indicated that the company has also failed to pay outstanding fees to the government of Sierra Leone – a situation which according to the report has threatened closure of the mine and contributed to the resignation of Octea CEO Brett Richards.
The report furthered that $700,000 is owed to the Koidu City Council by Octea Mining for property tax for which the mayor Sahr Emmerson Lamina has this to say, “there is not a single iota of corporate responsibility.”
“Disaggregated or monthly data by exporter reveals the company accounted for between 60 and 90% of all diamond exports in Sierra Leone. But, unlike other companies, taxes for Koidu were never documented on available sources from 2012-2015,” the report revealed
The report continued that during September 2015 taxes were registered under all exporters except for Koidu, which exported about half ($9.5 million) of all exports ($19.5 million) adding that the previous month, Koidu’s exports accounted for $7 million of a total $9 million in exports; again, with no taxes documented.
According to the Panama Paper on Sierra Leone both Octea and NMA has declined commenting on the issues raised in the report.