Category Archives: Corruption

Canadian Mining Company Torex Gold Resources Inc; Archetype of Violence in Guerrero

REMA | October 4, 2019

Since 2010, in the heart of the municipality of Cocula in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, Canadian mining company Torex Gold Resources Inc. has been operating through its subsidiary Minera Media Luna S.A. de C.V.. Its Limón-Guajes project is an open pit and underground gold and silver mine. Since the company’s arrival, it has been one of the spoiled favourites of diverse political operators in the state of Guerrero, especially the governors of the day, as well as having received repeat visits from the Canadian diplomatic mission in Mexico. This has allowed Mr. Fred Stanford, Torex Gold Director, President and CEO, to move freely with complete impunity, despite hundreds of harms committed by the company and its violent operators, particularly in the communities of Nuevo Balsas, La Fundición, Real de Limón and Atzcala.

Since which time the company has been in the area, its operations have been shut down various times as a result of actions taken by mine opponents and workers. On each occasion, some sort of violence has been perpetrated against them by workers affiliated with the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM by its initials in Spanish, a “protection union” that does not legitimately represent workers) and organized crime, which has for years operated openly in the area in favour of the company, controlling who comes and goes, offering jobs and suppressing the population at its whim. The list of harms that have taken place is just as long as the impunity that operates in the country, starting with the people who were displaced from the community La Fundición who had to flee the country or move to other states to avoid being assassinated. The appearance of false land titles used to dispossess the original owners of their land and the forced relocation of around 170 families from La Fundición and Real del Limón. The mine has also contaminated water supplies, which has permanently affected the economic activity and health of fishers in the community of Nuevo Balsas. The University of Guerrero distorted the information about the contamination as if the company had no role, which is hardly surprising given that the university has received funds for years from Torex Gold, as well as from Goldcorp when it was still operating [the Los Filos mine] in Carrizalillo, Guerrero.

In addition, there have been multiple cases of extorsion, people being picked up and either threatened or disappeared, and kidnappings. We recall what took place to the three brothers Victor, Miguel and Modesto Rebolledo Salinas, members of the community Real del Limón who were picked up shortly after their other brother, Eligio Rebolledo Salinas, was shot and seriously injured. Another pair of brothers were assassinated, Victor and Marcelino Sahuanitla Peña, who had been workers opposed to being exploited by the company and the CTM. The most remarkable aspect of their assassination is that it took place in sight of so-called “military officials” assigned to patrol #0827327, which several days prior had installed a security checkpoint in the area. The checkpoint was in response to a 600-strong worker strike that shut down mine operations as part of their struggle for the freedom of association, freedom of union representation and freedom to collective negotiations as fundamental rights. Shortly later, another leader in this worker struggle was murdered, Mr. Quintin Salgado Salgado. This cleanup that the company and its assassins undertook to get rid of people struggling for their rights also included – of course – individual and mass dismissals of workers. Meanwhile, others have continued to be persecuted in a grotesque manner, considering the disappearance of opponents such as Oscar Hernández Romero on September 23 of this year. Since this time, over a hundred people have gone looking for him in different parts of Cocula. His disappearance is retaliation for the legal action that 200 workers who were unjustifiably dismissed have taken against the company. Now, the pseudo-community police, made up of assassins who operate in favour of the company, have decided to shut down their search, issuing death threats against the friends who are looking for their leader.

Below we share a brief outline of the recurring harms that have taken place in connection with the violent Canadian mining company Torex Gold Resources Inc. We do so in order to shed light on a story that has not been told and that has been little analyzed, except perhaps by the publication Diario El Sur in Acapulco.

Since the [2017] closure of the company’s operations as a result of the 600-strong worker strike demanding that the company refuse to recognize the collective agreement with the CTM union any longer, there have been a series of violent events gradually taking place, making an increasingly notorious case. In response, there were attempts at a solidarity visits by diverse actors, who were also detained by groups of assassins on their way to the area. High ranked state representatives also appeared, along with Canadian diplomats, the state and municipal police, the gendarmerie and the army, as well as representatives of the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic (STMMSRM by its initials in Spanish), led by now Senator Gómez Urrutia who, using the influence that he has in Canada, brought the United Steelworkers (USW) into the fray. The USW urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene with Mexican authorities to stop the repression against the worker strike. The Canadian union also issued a press release denouncing that the subsidiary of Torex Gold Resources had struck an alliance with the CTM union to associate all of its workers to that union without their consent, stating that this is a “corrupt practice” that is illegal both in Canada and the U.S. Support from these unions soon led to a case before the Federal Board for Conciliation and Arbitration where at least two public hearings took place to determine the date when a vote would be held to select a union, which clearly pointed toward the creation of a section under the STMMSRM.

In the press, a date for the vote was announced to finally determine the change in union. However, one day prior to the date set by the Federal Board of Conciliation and Arbitration, the company widely distributed a communiqué in which it expressed its pleasure at an internal agreement that had been reached by the parties, with which the strike was lifted and – with the stroke of a pen – the conflict, the assassinations, the kidnappings and the cases of extorsion were all forgotten. Nothing further was known of the national or international support that mine opponents had received from the STMMSRM and the USW. The repressive Mr. Fred Stanford, President and CEO of Torex Gold Resources Inc., heaped exuberant praise on himself, lauding his good business sense. But it was all a lie because the testimonies of the opponents state that it was organized crime acting in favour of the company who suddenly ended the strike with their arrival and threat to kill everyone if the strike did not stop. All the support for the workers was withdrawn without a word from the national and international unions, the state and municipal governments, the Federal Board of Conciliation and Arbitration, the Canadian diplomats, or the state and federal armed forces. Meanwhile, Mr. Stanford was widely celebrating “the great agreement” that had been reached.

This summary helps to explain that the violent reality that the communities in the municipality of Cocula and surrounding municipalities live with has not changed one bit. The federal government continues to be absent in the area, despite the effect created by the case of the young men from Ayotzinapa. As a result, impunity continues to be at the centre of corporate power that has every political operator in the state suppressed, submissive and bought out. Mining “progress and development”, as REMA has documented and denounced ad nauseum, is – to put it lightly – an atrocity. 

REMA expresses our solidarity with the struggle of the men and women who are living with systemic violence throughout the area known as the “Guerrero Gold Belt”. We know that this is a struggle that you are fighting in complete solitude because, for some time, the state has been fully in the pockets of organized crime and the mining companies. In this context, we recognize the tremendous efforts you are making to hold your heads high and continue to fight for life.

When will the simulation and impunity end?

If the Fourth Transformation fails to get clarity about this root issue, everything that is said in the daily morning press conferences will be totally irrelevant

We demand the appearance with life of Oscar Hernández Romer 

For Territories Free of Mining 

Mexican Network of Mining Affected People

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Axiom sues Tovosia and Solomon Islands mining board 

Solomon Star | 3 October 2019

AXIOM Mining Limited (AML) says it has initiated legal proceedings at the High Court over the government’s handling of its export permit application.

General Manager Dr Phil Tagini said they’ve filed a claim for judicial review against the decision of the Minerals Board, as well as a misfeasance claim against the Minister of Mines Bradley Tovosia and Director of Mines Nicholas Biliki for failing to properly exercise their powers under Regulations 70 and 71 of the Mines and Minerals Regulations pertaining to the company’s export permit application. 

“Furthermore there are subsequent requests for materials by the Ministry of Mines which the law does not require for the consideration of an export permit,” Tagini explained.

He said the application has met the requirements of the Mines and Minerals (MM) regulations and thus the company should have been granted an export permit to ship out its nickel ore products to its United States-based buyer, Traxys.

However, Tagini said Minister Tovosia in a letter dated July 18 this year informed Axiom that the Minerals Board following its extra-ordinary meeting on July 5, had decided to reject the company’s export permit application on the basis that it did not possess a business licence from the Isabel Provincial Government (IPG). 

The Board had maintained that this is a requirement even though it is not required in the Act or Regulations. 

Tagini explained that Axiom’s non-possession of a business licence was not deliberate on its part but was rather due to failure of the Isabel Provincial Government to respond positively to its numerous applications and attempts to obtain a business licence.

He said Axiom has come to a stage where it could no longer tolerate the overreach of the Board and must bring the matter for an independent interpretation by the Courts.  

He added Axiom’s nickel mine project on San Jorge is projected to contribute up to 15 to 20 percent of Solomon Islands Gross Domestic Product (GDP) when in the full exportation phase. 

“We are surprised that with the current state of our economy that a company that has been granted a Mining Lease and has been mining for a year is being refused to export their ores for reasons that we believe are not according to law. 

“We have complied with all requirements under the law so it is very concerning to us that this situation is preventing more employment opportunities for Solomon Islanders and much needed tax revenues into our government coffers.   

“It is unfortunate that every citizen and the landowner and our loyal suppliers have to suffer for this poor governance. 

“Axiom is left with no other option but to have the matter rectified in the courts,” Tagini said.

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Pressure on MRDC to come clean on LNG revenue

Isaac Lupari chairs MRDC where “everything it does is shrouded in secrecy”

Mekere Morauta | PNG Attitude | 25 September 2019

The Mineral Resources Development Corporation (MRDC) needs to publish up-to-date audited details of its group finances since PNG LNG gas production began in mid-2014.

MRDC manages landowner equity interests in both mining and petroleum projects and is chaired by chief secretary Isaac Lupari.

It is estimated that almost K1 billion in landowner royalties has flowed into its coffers since then, but virtually none of that money has reached its rightful owners.

And, contrary to claims by MRDC last week, I am advised that the company has not paid any dividends on the investments it has made on behalf of landowners from their royalty payments.

Hundreds of millions of kina have been invested, but are these profitable, sound investments?

MRDC can make flowery statements, empty promises and false and irrelevant denials, but the fact is that, without publishing its accounts, it cannot prove what it says is true.

It cannot demonstrate that it is operating according to the law, or that landowners are receiving a fair return on their funds.

MRDC’s independent auditors have refused to sign off financial statements. The auditor-general has refused to sign off financial statements. And MRDC has not supplied financial statements to the auditor-general or the Investment Promotion Authority as required.

This is why it is so important that the public inquiry into MRDC proposed by prime minister James Marape goes ahead as soon as possible. In the meantime MRDC should immediately come clean on the state of its finances.

It is in the landowners’ interests that current information verified by independent auditors and the auditor-general is made available.

Failure to supply that information will only heighten public suspicions that all is not well at MRDC. Has there been waste, abuse and mismanagement? The public, as owners of this state corporation, has a right to know.

The information required includes details of trust accounts and other accounts holding landowner funds, the cost and current value of MRDC’s investments, returns on those investments to landowners, withdrawals of landowner funds and details of board approvals for them, payments to all directors and management, fees charged by MRDC to subsidiary companies, and payments to suppliers.

A media release issued last week by MRDC consisted of spin and misinformation. The dividends the company claimed to have been paid are not dividends from MRDC’s investment of landowner funds. They are dividends paid from underlying resource projects as a result of equity participation negotiated by the State.

Nor can MRDC legitimately claim any increase in asset values because its financial statements have been called into question by its independent auditors and the auditor-general.

The value of MRDC’s investments using landowner funds is singled out for criticism by its auditors and the auditor-general. There are other question marks over short term deposits, receivables, related party balances, income tax and financial statement disclosures.

Other comments made by MRDC have an equally unsound basis – none of the documents or processes it refers to in its media release are open to public scrutiny. MRDC, unlike most other state-owned enterprises, does not even have a website.

Everything MRDC does is shrouded in secrecy. It has not provided up-to-date information or full information or even correct information for years.

Now is the time to provide it.

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Pruaitch Says PAC Faces Daunting Task On KPHL

Post Courier | September 23, 2019

National Alliance Party leader Patrick Pruaitch says the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee will face a daunting task when it looks into the financial a airs of Kumul Petroleum, which holds the government’s 16.57 per cent stake in the PNG LNG Project.
Mr Pruaitch said the Marape government has taken a responsible stance by rejecting claims by Kumul Petroleum that it is not answerable to the PAC inquiry chaired by Sir John Pundari.

“I have raised several issues with regard to the financial affairs of Kumul Petroleum, which is the only state-owned enterprise that operates as though it is not accountable to anyone even though every toea that it has rightfully belongs to the people of PNG,” he said.

“The financial accounts released by Kumul Petroleum, covering the period from 2014 to 2017, indicates that it has been in receipt of over K5 billion as a result of government equity in the PNG LNG Project. Only a tiny portion has been returned to the government as dividends and corporate tax.

“It has now come to my attention that the 2017 annual accounts of Kumul Petroleum, which have been endorsed by the Auditor-General, discloses that total revenue it received from PNG LNG in 2017 was US$411 million, or approximately K1.37 billion.

“However, the 2017 annual report from the Government’s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) shows that it received K2.097 billion from PNG LNG, suggest- ing under-reporting of 2017 revenue by over K700 million.

“Has there been an accounting problem or has this money simply vanished? An additional discrepancy is that the Kumul Petroleum 2017 accounts show the company paid US$56.74 million in corporate tax in 2017, while EITI only records a payment of K13.3 million, as confirmed by the Internal Revenue Commission.”

Mr Pruaitch said it was notable that key agencies that have not cooperated with the government mandated EITI process have been Kumul Petroleum and the Bank of Papua New Guinea, which has been recipient of landowners’ royalty payments from the PNG LNG Project.

Mr Pruaitch, who recently left his position as opposition leader to join government, said it was praiseworthy that Prime Minister Marape has shown a determination to ensure that government bodies, such as Kumul Petroleum and Mineral Resources Development Company, were transparent and accountable.
Former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta has raised a series of issues regarding the operations of MRDC and Prime Minister Marape has agreed to hold a public inquiry into MRDC.

The National Executive Council has also instructed Kumul Petroleum to appear before the PAC inquiry.

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Resource Industry Does Not Manipulate MRA : Chamber

Post Courier | September 20, 2019

The amended MRA Act passed by Parliament last year has removed all industry representation from the board of the Mineral Resources Authority, the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum said yesterday.

The passage of the revised Act in February 2018 effectively removed the industry from the MRA board.

Therefore, claims by Jiwaka Governor Dr William Tongamp in the National newspaper on Monday September 9 that industry controls and manipulates MRA are factually incorrect and misleading, the chamber states in a statement yesterday.

Furthermore, when the industry representatives sat on the MRA board, they have always acted professionally and always in accordance with the Act.

It is unfortunate that Dr Tomgamp has cast aspersions on the reputation and good standing of many professional Papua New Guineans that serve on boards like the MRA and other State authorities.

The Chamber further dismissed claims by the governor that information published by MRA following the slurry spillage at the Basamuk Bay were provided by the ‘indus- try players and not independent’.

MRA and CEPA are independent regulators and our observation is that they have responded to this matter professionally and it is best that the Governor seeks clarification directly from State authorities, it stated.

It is best that Dr Tongamp seeks clarification directly from State institutions on the process and procedure they have followed.“We would welcome any opportunity to meet with Governor Dr Tongamp to explain the role of the chamber and the contribution the mining and petroleum sector makes to PNG’s economy as well as the wider sector through investments in health, education, training, landco companies and basic infrastructure across Papua New Guinea.”

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‘Our water is our gold’: Armenians blockade controversial mine

In the mountains of Armenia, a previously bucolic spa town is home to a goldmine locals say threatens the country’s biggest source of freshwater, and with it, an entire ecosystem.

Anna Bianca Roach | DW | 11 September 2019

Jermuk in southwest Armenia has long been renowned for its hot springs, soothing mineral water treatments and impressive waterfalls. But since mining company Lydian International moved in on a gold deposit upstream from the spa town on Mount Amulsar, it has become famous for something else.

Since June 2018, protestors have gathered from across Armenia to oppose a mine they say is fouling their land and water. Manned day and night, their blockade has succeeded in completely halting construction.

A year on, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan — still fresh to power following last year’s “Velvet Revolution” — is coming under increasing pressure to pick sides.

On one side, a popular protest movement sees the mine as a symbol of the corrupt regime it has just overthrown; on the other is a company — registered in the UK tax haven of Jersey — responsible for Armenia’s biggest foreign investment.

Polluting lakes and pasture

Before construction of the Amulsar mine even began, Lydian relied on the notoriously corrupt government at the time to clear farmland. Locals say they were given a choice between selling the pastures they relied on for a living, and having them expropriated.

“Villagers don’t know where to send their cows, or their sheep, so they have to stop agriculture,” Jermuk resident Aharon Arsenyan, who has been resisting the company since 2012, told DW.

Once the diggers arrived in 2017, locals say things got worse. Whenever the wind picked up, “there was dust,” Arsenyan says. “Every time. We have never seen — never! — such amounts of dust.”

The landscape around Mount Amulsar in southwest Armenia, which locals say is at risk from a polluting goldmine

As construction progressed, residents of Jermuk and the nearby village of Gndevaz say dark, muddy water ran from their faucets. A local fish farm, meanwhile, reported the unusual death of hundreds of their fish.

Others say the farmland they hadn’t been forced to give up wasn’t productive anymore, as cattle refused to eat the dust-covered grass or drink contaminated water.

Contradictory assessments

The biggest controversy, though, is over what might happen if the mine actually starts operating, and whether Armenia’s biggest source of freshwater will be safe.

Arsenyan calls his hometown “the capital of water.” Jermuk — and the mine — sit on the source of the Arpa and Vorotan rivers, which in turn feed Lake Sevan. The lake supplies much of the Armenian population with drinking water, and many with fish.

The entire country of Armenia is peppered with small fountains called pulpulaks. People rely on them for fresh, clean drinking water, and they’re especially beloved during Vardavar, the country’s water festival

“The entire ecosystem of the country depends on it,” Arpine Galfayan, a Yerevan resident and member of activist group Armenian Environmental Front (AEF), told DW.

According to Lydian’s first environmental impact assessment, published in 2016, waste water discharge would be minimal and treated to comply with water quality standards. Other disruption — noise, dust, pollution — would also be kept to manageable levels. The company said it would offset any remaining environmental damage by helping fund a new national park.

But when it approached Armenian-American geochemical engineer Harout Bronozian as a potential investor in the project, he had doubts — and commissioned his own environmental assessment.

Bronozian’s consultants said Lydian had hugely underestimated the environmental impact of the project, which would almost certainly contaminate Lake Sevan and other water sources — with chemicals including arsenic and cyanide — for centuries to come, risking both aquatic life and human health.

study by environmental NGO the Balkani Wildlife Society, meanwhile, found that the project could potentially infringe on the habitat of endangered species such as the vanishingly rare Caucasian leopard. It called Lydian’s promised park “a very negative example of biodiversity offsetting,” and said the mine failed to comply with Armenian and European environmental regulations.

The mine could encroach on the habitat of the exceedingly rare Caucasian leopard

‘Water is our gold’

Galfayan says although locals were concerned as soon as the company appeared more than a decade ago, few dared speak out. According to the AEF, members of government were among Lydian’s shareholders, and since state forces shot at a crowd protesting over disputed elections in 2008, there had been an atmosphere of fear and oppression.

In April 2018, all that changed. Armenians took to the streets after then president Serzh Sargsyan tried to install himself for another term. Promising to bring an end to corruption, opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan won the country’s first democratic elections and took prime ministerial office in May 2018.

Energized by this victory for public protest, residents of Jermuk and the surrounding villages began their blockade of the mine. Around the country “our water is our gold” became the slogan for the new frontline in the popular war on corruption. Each time Lydian tried a new legal mechanism to pressure government into breaking the blockade, a steady stream of vehicles arrived with reinforcements from around the country.

A high stakes game

Pashinyan’s government, however, failed to either revoke the license his predecessors issued Lydian, or to effectively clear the blockades, saying a fresh audit was needed to decide whether the mine should be allowed to operate.

Environmentalist Aharon Arsenyan speaks at an anti-mining rally

All this has hit Lydian where it hurts. In 2018, it reported “blockade expenses” of over $42 million (€37 million), and total losses of over $136 million, warning “there is a risk that the company will be in default under its agreements” to shareholders.

In March, Lydian submitted notice to the Armenian government that it planned to sue the government through corporate courts if the situation was not resolved. Rumours circulated in local media that the company could try to claim losses of $2 billion, or almost two thirds of Armenia’s state budget.

Then in July, the government’s own environmental impact assessment was finally published, finding that the mine was safe. In the weeks since, Pashinyan has shifted position more than once, between assuring Armenians the mine is safe and casting doubts on the government’s own positive environmental assessment of the project. 

On September 7, the prime minister convened a meeting with both activists and Lydian’s interim, CEO Edward Sellers, who said the company would allow independent monitoring of the site. Two days later Pashinyan took to social media to ask protestors to clear the blockade. 

Galfayan said protestors would not only continue the blockade but were also planning a wider campaign of civil disobedience, including marches on the capital. “This is a matter of life and justice for us,” she said. “We are definitely fighting back.”

Meanwhile, Jean Blaylock, of campaign group Global Justice Now told DW the international corporate court process is so secretive, it’s possible Lydian may have already launched its case.

“Corporate courts are a perfect tool for transnational corporations to bully governments,” Blaylock said, adding that, “the payouts can be huge, the arbitrators take a very narrow perspective, and altogether it is a massive pressure on governments to back down.”

Lydian did not respond to DW’s request for comment on criticisms of its operations, or whether it was going ahead with corporate court proceedings. 

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Mountain of allegations & many questions about MRDC scandals

Mekere Morauta

Mekere Morauta | PNG Attitude | 12 September 2019

New information about the scandal-plagued Mineral Resources Development Corporation has become available, reinforcing the urgent need for an inquiry into its operations and the status of the hundreds of millions of kina it manages on behalf of landowner companies.

There is now a mountain of allegations about MRDC and its landowner subsidiaries. I expect that in the coming weeks more will be revealed about their dubious activities and the real value of the investments they have made, purportedly in the interest of landowners.

The latest revelations affirm prime minister James Marape’s decision to hold an inquiry into MRDC, and add substance to existing allegations of possible fraud, misappropriation, abuse of office and breaches of various laws including the Public Finances (Management) Act, the Companies Act and the Auditor-General’s Act.

It is in the public interest that these allegations are fully tested in a formal inquiry.

The new allegations came within a matter of hours of public comments in defence of MRDC and their own operations by Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta, the interim chairman of MRDC landowner company Petroleum Resources Gobe, and John Natto, the chairman of MRDC’s Petroleum Resources Kutubu.

They covered a wide range of activities by MRDC and its subsidiaries, including the expenditure of landowner trust funds I identified in parliament on 4 September.

One example is K30 million that was allegedly withdrawn from an MRDC subsidiary’s account in November last year.

Landowners have an absolute right to know the details of the processes involved in its use, the people responsible, the purpose of the expenditure, and the ultimate destination of the funds.

There are some important questions the prime minister’s inquiry should consider in this specific instance:

Where did the K30 million come from – was the ultimate source an account held by Petroleum Resources Gobe?

Was the K30 million drawn down in November 2018, and was approval granted by the PRG board at that time?

Was a board meeting, not attended by landowner directors Philip Kende (then chairman) and George Kisi, held in January this year to restrospectively ratify the draw-down?

Is it true that the K30 million was then split between Petroleum Resources Kutubu and Mineral Resources Star Mountains then shifted out, purportedly to pay for a shortfall in finances for the construction of the Hilton Hotel/Star Mountains Plaza?

On what authority did PRK and MRSM accept the transfer of funds to their accounts and is there any documentation to support the transfer?

Can the MRDC, PRK and MRSM boards demonstrate with documentation that the money was actually used on the Hilton, and not for some other purpose?

These are just some of the concerns about MRDC and its landowner subsidiaries raised by credible sources. Other allegations have been made about MRDC’s involvement in HeviLift, Dirio Gas and Power, resorts in Samoa and Fiji, the Four-Mile Casino, Ela Beach land and Moran Haus in Lae.

It is clear from the reaction of MRDC that it is terrified of being exposed to the disinfectant of sunlight – it would much rather its activities remain hidden from scrutiny.

I have been reliably informed that extraordinary measures have been taken by board and management to cover up their activities, including IT measures and video surveillance of staff members.

In the face of this MRDC campaign against transparency and accountability, I encourage members of the public with information about MRDC and its activities to contact the Police Fraud Squad

The decision by the MRDC group not to publish all its audited accounts means that public suspicions and questions will not go away.

So I urge Governor Haiveta and Mr Natto to use their influence and involvement to ensure that MRDC publishes all the group’s outstanding audited financial statements.

It is the lack of verified information, and the refusal of auditors and the Auditor-General to sign off on many financial statements, that give credence to the public’s fear that all is not well within the MRDC group.

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