Its a rip-off! Carnegie Minerals cheated The Gambia
Friday, February 15, 2008
At an extra-ordinary press conference, at which virtually all the diplomats in The Gambia were present, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Crispin Grey-Jonson, stated calmly but most definitely clearly the Gambia government's view that Carnegie Minerals (Gambia) Ltd, an Australian-owned company with a British managing director, had engaged in criminal deception against the people and government of The Gambia.
The purpose of the press conference, held at the Atlantic Corinthia Hotel, was to assure the diplomats, the business community and investors that the government of The Gambia is pro-business and pro-investment.
But, as explained by the SoS, Carnegie Minerals had taken advantage of the fact that The Gambia is a country without the laboratories to test what they were taking out of The Gambia to deliberately deceive the authorities.
"We gave them a license to mine for Zircon, Silicon and Ilmenite", explained SoS Grey-Johnson. "And they declared to us that they were mining and exporting these three minerals.
They sent out huge quantities of mined metric tons of sand to Australia and onward to China. When we sent samples of the sand for laboratory tests abroad, the results came back showing that in addition to mining Zircon, Silicon and Ilmenite, the company was also exporting Titanium, Iron Ore and Uranium".
The government of The Gambia then took steps to get an explanation from Carnegie Minerals. "We gave the management of the company an opportunity to explain what they took out of the country.
They declared only the three minerals they thought we knew about. After we received the second samples, we asked them again. Again, they declared only the three minerals they thought we knew about. This was a deliberate misleading of the government of The Gambia. Carnegie's license was revoked and the matter referred to the police. To use ordinary language "It is a rip-off"", concluded SoS Grey-Johnson.
The Foreign Affairs SoS was flanked by colleagues, Neneh Macdouall-Gaye, SoS for Communication and Informaton Technology, and Marie Saine-Firdaus, the attorney general and SoS for Justice, as he answered questions from the gathered diplomats.
SoS Grey-Johnson assured him that no one would be made a scape-goat. There is a criminal investigation by the police and the managing director is in the best position to help the police with their inquiries.
The Attorney General Saine-Firdaus assured the High Commissioner that the Carnegie MD would indeed be well-looked after, adding that he has been visited by his wife. The Attorney General also stressed that there is a limit on the amount of information that can be given out as the matter is under investigation. The SoS Information, Macdouall-Gaye, invited journalists and others concerned about the matter to feel free to contact her office.
SoS Grey Johnson thanked the gathering and the press conference concluded.
Author: by Dida Halake, Editor-in-Chief