Bisesero mining concession seeks police help

An investigation carried out by The New Times into a row between some American investors in a Cassiterite mining concession in Bisesero and their former local manager, has revealed that the mine risks closure if the dispute is not resolved soon.

The American investor, Bay View Group, LLC (BVG), are considering pulling out after failing to get returns from mines, something they attribute to their former manager, Lambert Mucyo.

“If the situation gets worse, these Americans may pullout from the business yet I believe one person has frustrated them for his own personal interest,” a source who preferred anonymity and familiar with the matter revealed to The New Times in the course of a two-week investigation.

Another inside source at the Criminal Investigating Department (CID) said that the department has taken up the matter and investigations are being carried out.

The investigation begun when William Quam, the new country manager of the BVG Rwanda, reported the matter to CID.

William Quam was approached by the group’s main shareholder Roderick Marshall to run the Rwandan operation after being frustrated by the way Mucyo was running the concession.   

In a dossier compiled for the CID dated November 30, 2009, and of which The New Times has seen, Quam informs the police that the Bisesero mine was experiencing theft of minerals, extortion and attempt to convert company assets into personal use.

“We respectfully request the assistance of the Criminal Investigation Division to investigate serious criminal activities committed against Bay View Group Rwanda, Ltd.

The crimes were committed b Mucyo and others over the course of the last 3 years,” the dossier reads in parts.

“We have been very reluctant to come forward with these allegations in part because of the intimidation and threats Mucyo has issued against Bay View Group, LLC”.

The dossier says that Mucyo was a representative of Rwanda Investment Export Promotion (RIEPA) when he met with Roderick Marshall, President of Bay View Group, LLC at the annual Rwandan investment conference in 2003 held in Boston, USA.

Mucyo allegedly acted as Marshal’s translator in various meetings with several government authorities, and convinced Marshall that the Rwandan Government would grant them a 35-year mining license for the Bisesero concession if BVG brought mining-related equipment to Rwanda.

Quam now alleges that Mucyo’s plan was to double-cross and own the equipment and when he failed, he resorted to threatening that their license would be revoked.

“At about the end of 2008, Mucyo attempted to change consignee information and take ownership and control from the Rwandan Customs authority of US$148,631.49 worth of machinery,” the dossier reads.

“Mucyo used threatening language toward a friend of BVG in Rwanda who tried to stop him from attempting to gain control of the machines and equipment.”

The threats were followed by several requests for funds to a subsidiary of BVG LLC in Rwanda of which there was no accountability.

Efforts to get a comment from Mucyo have been futile for the past week.

The dossier goes on to say that US$150,000 from the sale of 13 tons of cassiterite or possibly more disappeared without trace under the watchful eye of Mucyo. 

When contacted, Safari Bagina the Executive Secretary of Rwankuba Sector where the concession is located, acknowledged that there was theft by the miners and that BVG had reported the matter to his office.

The Director of the Rwanda Geology and Mines Authority (OGMR), Michael Biryabarema, said that BVG has performed poorly ever since it started.

He however sounded optimistic that they would perform better since they had brought in new management.

“I understand Mucyo no longer works with BVG Rwanda and that there is a new country manager, we hope they will do better.”

Efforts to speak to the new country manager proved futile as he is reported to be out of the country.