Mines should disclose name, identity of owners – ZEITI

By MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA -
ZAMBIA’s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (ZEITI) says all mining companies will now be required to disclose the name and identity of their ultimate owners to curb corruption and illegal deals.
This will be implemented under the 2016 EITI standards, which require all companies operating in EITI countries to disclose the name and identity of their ultimate owners.
It has been estimated that developing countries lose US$1 trillion each year as a result of corruption or illegal deals, many of which involve companies with anonymous beneficial owners.
ZEITI coordinator Siforiano Banda said all companies bidding for, operating or investing in extractive projects in Zambia would now have to disclose information on the beneficial owners.
This will help to eliminate corruption or illegal deals and tax evasion.
Mr Banda said in an interview that the fight against corporate secrecy was thus moving forward in the EITI member countries including Zambia.
“There are some mining companies whose real owners are unknown, hidden by a chain of unaccountable corporate entities and their names are not appearing on the list of shareholders and they have influence… they can easily transfer money into offshore accounts  as a result Government  is losing out in terms of tax,” Mr Banda said.
He said the beneficial owners of the companies that have obtained rights to extract oil, gas and minerals was often unknown, hidden by a chain of unaccountable corporate entities, thereby fuelling corrupt activities.
It has been noted that Illicit financial flows in the country predominately from the extractive sector amount to US$3 billion annually.
Under the new standards, information about beneficial owners’ identities will have to include the name of the “natural person” who is a beneficial owner and his/her nationality, country of residence, level of ownership, as well as the identity of any politically exposed persons (PEPS).