Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /usr/www/users/urnnet/a/story.php on line 43
Govt Official Defends Africa Gold Refinery Over Illicit Dealings :: Uganda Radionetwork
Breaking

Govt Official Defends Africa Gold Refinery Over Illicit Dealings

A senior official in the Ministry of Energy has defended the Entebbe-based Africa Gold Refinery AGR over suspicion that it refines illicit gold from Democratic Republic of Congo DRC and South Sudan. The Belgian-Owned African Gold Refinery has been refining gold in Uganda since February when President Museveni launched it to add value to Ugandas gold before export.
Engineer Joseph Okedi, the Assistant Commissioner for Mines. He also worked as Senior Inspector of Mines at The Directorate of Geological Surveys and Mines.

Audio 2

A senior official in the Ministry of Energy has defended the Entebbe-based Africa Gold Refinery (AGR) over suspicion that it refines illicit gold from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.

 

The Belgian-Owned African Gold Refinery has been refining gold in Uganda since February when President Museveni launched it to add value to Uganda's gold before export.

 

But the Refinery has not been spared of claims that it refined illicit gold from DRC and South Sudan. Some have claimed gold from DRC and South Sudan is being used to fuel conflicts in the region.

 

London-based watchdog, Global Witness, in May highlighted a dark side to AGR dealings including corruption and refining illicit gold. 

 

But Engineer Joseph Okedi, an Assistant Commissioner for Mines, has defended AGR saying it is helping Uganda trace gold that previously was hard to trace.

  

//Cue in: "I think AGR is …  

 Cue out:…better than before."//

 

Bank of Uganda official figures indicate that gold exports from Uganda reached 340 million Dollars in 2016 from 237,000 Dollars in 2014. Activist groups have also questioned where AGR is getting the gold to sustain its production.

 

One of the AGR directors, former energy minister Richard Kaijuka, was quoted by Global Witness saying the gold is taken to the refinery's door steps and that it doesn't matter where it comes from.

  

Engineer Okedi says AGR is permitted to export its gold after going through the government-led regional certification scheme under the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

 

Okedi, however, does not rule out the fact that gold ending up at AGR comes in through gold brokers in the region. 

 

 //Cue in "So a lot of gold…..

Cue out…. at the refinery."//

 

Okedi declined to declare how much gold AGR is getting from DRC and South Sudan. He says records at Customs indicate that a lot of gold refined at AGR is imported through what he called right channels.

  

//Cue in: "I will get the statistics….

Cue out …. are brought to light."//

 

In 2011, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) adopted more stringent rules requiring Ugandan gold traders to produce supporting documentation to prove the origin of their gold.

  

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development also introduced tough new rules governing the export of gold from Uganda. Gold exporters were required to show export permits and a certificate of origin for the gold.

 

The fear is that smuggled artisanal gold is likely to lack these certificates when delivered to AGR and can be exported  legally from Uganda.