(Ottawa/Paris) MiningWatch Canada and the French anti-corruption association Sherpa announced today that they have filed a report with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) calling for an investigation into Canadian mining company Kinross Gold Corporation for apparent breaches of Canada’s anti-corruption laws at the company’s Tasiast mine in Mauritania and its Chirano mine in Ghana.
This report, which comes on the heels of revelations in the French newspaper Le Monde that Kinross is under investigation by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) for corruption at its African mines, is based on extensive and detailed documents and information received by Sherpa and MiningWatch from whistleblowers and other sources, and includes subpoenas served on Kinross as part of the ongoing SEC investigation, internal Kinross documents, and whistleblower letters setting out highly detailed allegations of bribery, corruption and other financial crimes in Mauritania and Ghana. This information suggests extremely close ties between Kinross and public officials, which have apparently allowed opaque financial flows of great magnitude to improper recipients.
“Symbolically and historically, this is an unprecedented initiative,” said William Bourdon of Sherpa. “For the first time, an extensive and credible investigation is revealing the details of important structural, intimate and apparently seriously corrupt dealings between a large Canadian mining company, and the governmental authorities of two countries which are among the poorest on the planet.”
“We urge the RCMP to conduct a thorough and aggressive investigation of Kinross’s African operations, based on this information – which is as solid as it is astonishing – to determine whether Canadian anti-corruption laws have been breached, as appears to have been the case,” said Jamie Kneen of MiningWatch.
Both Mauritania and Ghana have long struggled with serious problems with corruption. Mauritania is one of the most corrupt countries on earth, while Ghana has recently been rocked by a series of major corruption scandals. Meanwhile, Canada continues to be criticized on the world stage for poor enforcement of its anti-corruption legislation, allowing Canadian mining companies to engage in and profit from obvious corruption. Transparency International has noted that Canada’s current moderate enforcement is “insufficient deterrence” to prevent Canadian companies from engaging in corrupt practices.
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