Sunday, March 18, 2012

Carnegie Minerals is Back in the News

The case involving Charlie Northfield, a Briton standing trial on economic crimes along with his employers, British mining company Carnegie Minerals and Australian listed Astron yesterday proceeded at Gambia’s High Court in Banjul.
Carnegie Minerals had been operating in The Gambia since 1999, digging mineral sands which are sent to China for use in construction.
Mr Northfield and the company however came under fire in 2008 when Gambia government accused them of commercially mining Titanium, Iron ore and Uranium using their license for excavating mineral sands.
Allegedly, the company has made 40 shipments of such minerals without given the true and accurate value to the government and causing a loss of $ US$ 46,516.95.
But Mr Northfield and Carnegie strongly refutes these charges, saying that titanium and iron oxide were components of mineral sands, while uranium was only found in trace elements and could not be economically extracted.
Gambia’s then-foreign affairs minister, Crispin Grey-Johnson, told a news conference that Carnegie Minerals had taken advantage of the fact that the country was one without the laboratories to test what they were exporting to deliberately deceive the government.
This was after Charlie Northfield, who was released on bail and under house arrest, fled allegedly with the help of a British-based private security firm.
Three years after Mr Northfield’s dramatic escape, which resulted in the suspension of scores of police officers then in command at Barra police, the saga is back in the news.
When the case resumed yesterday after what seemed to be eternity, the state represented by director of special litigation, D.O Kulo has closed its case, bracing to address the court on Friday 9 March. This was after the testimony of the final state witness, Biran Jobe, a retired chief superintendent.
Meanwhile, Mr Charles Northfield’s 9 million dalasi bail bond has been forfeited to the state after ex-High Court judge, Moses Richards made an order to the effect. And Carnegie Minerals had its license revoked by the Gambian government in 2008.
Author: Binta A Bah

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