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Story image for phosphates Elenilto morocco from Front Page Africa

Panama Papers Hook Shady US$1B Elenilto Liberia Deal

Front Page Africa-Apr 6, 2016
Several African countries including Morocco, Democratic republic of ... aphosphate mine and fertilizer factory that would cost $1.4 billion.

What’s there for Liberia?Several African countries including Morocco, Democratic republic of Congo, Senegal, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Botswana, Sudan and others have individuals mentioned in the leaks and Liberia is also slightly mentioned as one of the many post war environment, where investors won concession for iron ore deposits. After the election of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf there was a massive rush by investors to Liberia to tap on the idle resources which were not extracted due to the prolong civil wars and some of the investors later proved to be fake. One of such was Jacob Engel and Elenilto Mining Company. Elenilto created stir in the mining industry when the company won the bid for the western cluster of Liberia, but the process was later declared null and void by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and a committee setup to investigate the processes that led to the award of the concession. The committee conducted its probe which led to the cancellation of the award of the concession to Elenilto but. However, information contained in the report makes mention of the controversial Elenilto deal. Engels owns interests in both Liberia and Togo. States the leaks: “Although most of the Israeli public is unfamiliar with his name, one of the prominent Israeli businessmen appearing in the leaked documents is Jacob Engel. He is primarily active in African mining through the Elenilto and Engelinvest Groups.

"Last year The Marker reported that Elenilto won the government of Togo’s international tender for constructing and developing a phosphate mine and fertilizer factory that would cost $1.4 billion. Elenilto won a huge tender in 2010 for an iron ore mine in Liberia, but sold the concession after a year and a-half to India’s Sesa Goa Company for US$90 million”.

Elenilto acquired an investment in Liberia's mineral-rich Western Cluster promising to spend $2.4 billion to develop Liberia's Western Cluster iron ore deposit. But after years of holding on to the concession, the company, against massive public outcry, sold its interest to Vedanta in a deal which the Israeli company earned a whopping US$23.5 million. The company had initially promised to produce as much as 1.1 billion metric tons of ore after being awarded the rights to develop the Western Cluster project. The project consists of three deposits and two idled mines, which were closed in 1976 and 1985 during Liberia's two civil wars, the last of which ended in 2003. Under the arrangement, Elenilto was expected to pay Liberia a one-time fee of US$25 million and an annual tax equivalent to 21 percent of the company's profit from the deposits, according to the ministry's statement. It will also pay US$3.1 million a year towards community development. Unable to deliver on its pledge, the company held on to the concession before it was finally rescued by Vedanta although Amir Nagammy, the company's Country Director was emphatic that Elelnilto was in Liberia for the long haul. Engelinvestment Group entered the metal mining business in mid-2007. In December 2008 the group completed the purchase of approximately 75% of Tanzania's copper and gold mines - spanning 9,000 km2 and at an investment of tens of millions of dollars. In January 2010, Engel won one of the world's largest metal mining tenders when it was awarded the 25-year franchise for one of the world's largest iron ore mining deposits. The tender included a group of 3 mines containing 1.1 billion tons of iron ore reserves at a 67% concentration, from which 700 million tons of iron could be extracted - designated for the construction and industry businesses, mainly in India and China. In return for the franchise, Elenilto undertook to pay the Liberian government $100 million, $25 million immediately and the remainder in annual payment throughout the franchise period. Furthermore, the company undertook to pay 21% of its profits after the investment had been returned. The leaks offer the most granular look ever at a banal reality that's long been hiding in plain sight. Even as the world's wealthiest and most powerful nations have engaged in increasingly complex and intensive efforts at international cooperation to smooth the wheels of global commerce, they have wilfully chosen to allow the wealthiest members of Western society to shield their financial assets from taxation (and in many cases divorce or bankruptcy settlement) by taking advantage of shell companies and tax havens. More than 100 media organizations spent a year poring over 11.5 million leaked files with 40 years' worth of data connecting more than 214,000 offshore companies to people in 200-plus countries. Since the papers’ release, protesters outraged over 'Panama Papers' findings gathered in front of the Icelandic Parliament in Reykjavic, Iceland, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugson. The documents reference 12 current or former world leaders, as well as 128 other politicians and public officials.

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