Mwanza. Some Lake zone residents are still putting pressure on African
Barrick Gold after the company announced that fuel theft at its Buzwagi
mine had prompted it to cut its gold production forecast.Those who spoke
to thispaper maintained that the company’s announcement of late last
year that it (the company) had uncovered what it termed as ‘organised
and systematic’ fuel theft at the mine, prompting the suspension of some
of its workers, may not be true.
Basing on the company’s
experience, some residents of Shinyanga called upon responsible
authorities to vigorously investigate the matter, alleging that the
mining firm might be taking such measures to substantiate that it is not
making profits and therefore, it has not yet qualified for corporate
tax.According to mining law in Tanzania, corporate tax, is usually
levied on the profits, hence no loss making entity can pay the tax.
is every reason for us to believe that this giant company is trying to
hide something here….if there had been ‘organized and systematic’ fuel
thefts at the mine, why have we not been told of anyone being held by
the police or being brought to court after being implicated in the fuel
theft scandal?” inquired Vincent Shija a resident of Shinyanga.
in response, the African Barrick Gold Public Relations and
Communications manager, Teweli Teweli, told BusinessWeek that the
company decided to suspend its workers because that was the only step it
could take, leaving other proceedings in the hands of the police
force.“That was the only step we could take as employers…the duty of
bringing them to justice was for the police force to handle,” he said
said he was not aware whether or not the police force was still
handling the matter.“May be you can check with the Shinyanga RPC
(Regional Police Commander) for more details regarding the matter,” he
said.In his remarks, Makene Mganga, a resident of Kahama said the issue
needed clear investigations for the truth or otherwise of the company’s
claims to be known.
He said it was almost impossible for any
intruder to go and steal fuel from the heavily guarded mine.“The one who
supplies fuel to the mine has got his fuel well within the mine
compound and the area is guarded around the clock….there are motorbikes
and dogs guarding the area for 24 hours,” said Mganga noting that it was
very difficult for someone to steal from such a place.
it was astounding to note that the same company said in 2007 that it had
lost fuel through theft at its North Mara Mine. In 2009, the same
company said fuel had been stolen at its Buzwagi mine. “In 2009, the
company said it was strengthening security to prevent a repetition of
fuel theft at Buzwagi, how possible is it therefore that in 2010, theft
reoccurred at the same mine?” he inquired.