Tanzania’s government accused Acacia Mining Plc of operating illegally in the East African country and said mining companies have been evading taxes. Acacia’s shares slumped.
An audit ordered by President John Magufuli in March found that Acacia had been conducting business in Tanzania “contrary to the law,” Nehemiah Osoro, chairman of a committee of academics, lawyers and economists that conducted the probe, said at a briefing Tuesday in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam. The audit covered mineral exports over the past 19 years.
“We should summon them and demand that they pay us back our money,” Magufuli said after receiving the committee’s report. “If they accept that they stole from us and seek forgiveness in front of God and the angels and all Tanzanians and enter into negotiations, we are ready to do business.”
Acacia’s shares dropped as much as 15 percent and were 10 percent lower at 269.8 pence by 3:08 p.m. in London. The company, which is majority owned by Barrick Gold Corp., said in a statement that it strongly refutes the committee’s findings.
“We have always conducted our business to the highest standards and operated in full compliance with Tanzanian law,” Acacia said. “We have declared everything of commercial value that we have produced since we started operating in Tanzania and have paid all appropriate royalties and taxes on all of the payable minerals that we produce.”
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