Mining firms shortchanging state will face gov’t wrath – Minister promises after iWatch report

Tracking government revenue

The Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Kweku Asomah Cheremeh, has assured that the government will be keeping a closer eye on mining firms amid fears of financial loss from the sector.

iWatch Africa in our report revealed that the failure of six mining companies to pay dividends deprived the state of $14,148,373.

Mr. Asomah Cheremeh told Citi News that if firms are found to be shortchanging the state, “then the wrath of the government would be visited on them.”

“They [non-compliant firms] are seeking to thwart the efforts of government and they are seeking to derail all the effort the government has brought into being.”

He insisted that he will champion the interest of the state “and that can even cause the revocation of the licences.”

The companies cited by the iWatch Africa investigation were Chirano, Adamus, Gold Fields Abosso, Perseus Mining, Ghana Manganese and Ghana Bauxite.

iWatch Africa said its review of the financial statements of these mining companies indicated that they failed to transfer dividends attributable to the government.

iWatch Africa also contended that the companies failed to obtain the needed approval from the Ministry of Finance to reinvest the dividends.

The Auditor General in his 2018 report revealed the absence of government representation on the boards of these mining companies, despite government ownership of 10 percent carried interest.

According to the Auditor General, this “inhibits oversight functions and possible cause for cost manipulation by the mining companies.”

Read Also: Failure of six mining companies to pay government dividends cost Ghana close to $15 million in 2018

Ghana has a 10 percent interest in all mining companies registered under the Companies Act of 1963 and these companies are to submit their returns to the Registrar General’s Department and the Minerals Commission annually.

In addition, they are supposed to conduct annual self-assessments and report to the Ghana Revenue Authority.

Credit: Citinewsroom.com

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Gideon Sarpong

Gideon Sarpong is a media practitioner with over six years experience in data, investigative and policy journalism. Gideon is currently the Policy and News Director at iWatch Africa. His major role includes developing news strategy for correspondents across Ghana, as well as designing project and policy focus for the organisation. He is an author with over eight publications; a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Thomson Reuters Foundation (Wealth of Nations Program), Commonwealth Youth Program (DYLP) and Bloomberg Data for Health Program. Gideon holds a degree in economics from the University of Cape Coast and PgD in Policy Journalism and Media Studies from the University of Zambia. He is a firm believer in the use of data journalism and technology for development and is committed to promoting transparency and accountability in Africa.

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