By Azania Post Reporter, Dodoma
THE government said yesterday that Tanzanite One mining had already paid the first installment of compensation to the government with regard to some anomalies committed by the company in the past.
The minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Prof. Palamagamba Kabudi said this in Parliament during a question and answer session here yesterday, without revealing the amount paid to the government, stressing that the government will not make the paid amounts public.
The company signed an agreement with the government in April after intense negotiations.
Tanzanite One, the biggest miner of tanzanite - a blue-violet gemstone found only in Tanzania - acknowledged mistakes but did not disclose how much it would pay in compensation.
The minister was contributing to the winding-up of debating of estimates of the Ministry of Minerals, telling MPs that the firm admitted to have evaded some taxes and therefore had to pay the compensations.
“Tanzanite One has actually paid the first installment and we will not reveal the amount,” he elaborated, specifying that the money will go to the Treasury. “We cannot mention the amount in public because we have learned from previous mistakes, as when we announce, we invite even our old creditors to claim for their money,” the minister noted.
A parliamentary inquiry team said on Sept 7 last year that it uncovered massive smuggling of the blue-violet tanzanite gemstone, found only in the East African nation.
The move followed President John Magufuli’s ordering the military to build a wall with security cameras and checkpoints around tanzanite mining concessions in the Mirerani area.
Even if someone swallows some tanzanite gemstones, they will be detected at the proposed checkpoint, the president quipped at that time.
Reports had for years been asserting that Tanzania was obtaining just 5 percent of revenues from the global tanzanite trade – all the rest of this precious gemstone benefiting other people abroad, a situation the president said was not acceptable.
Last year, the country overhauled the legal, regulatory and fiscal framework governing the mining sector with three new laws in July, sending stock in foreign-owned mining companies plunging for a while.
The new laws established a National Gold and Gemstone Reserve under the control of the central bank.