Local leaders probed over illegal mineral trade

KARONGI – Provincial authorities have ordered investigations into reports that local leaders in Rwankuba sector, Karongi district, are involved in illegal trade of precious minerals, Governor, Célestin Kabahizi has confirmed.
Governor Célestin Kabahizi
Governor Célestin Kabahizi

KARONGI – Provincial authorities have ordered investigations into reports that local leaders in Rwankuba sector, Karongi district, are involved in illegal trade of precious minerals, Governor, Célestin Kabahizi has confirmed.

He said, “When you hear news of local leaders along with business people getting involved in illegal businesses, everybody gets concerned. Investigations to establish facts about the truth are ongoing.”

It is alleged that some local leaders and famous businessmen are involved in this dubious business.
Kabahizi explained that police is working closely with other local authorities and eye witnesses to establish if the allegations are indeed true.

He called for collective efforts to fight illegal work in the mining concession which belongs to Bay View Group, a US investment firm.

“It is important that as we try to stop illegal businesses the owner of the concession also does everything in their reach to work with us,” he said.

When contacted, Bill Quam, the country manager of Bay View Group, welcomed the development and promised full cooperation in the fight against illegal business activities.

“An international investor needs to have assurances that swift action is taken when illegal activities are discovered.  The reaction of the local authorities and other officials in Kigali is a very welcome development,” Quam said.

He emphasised that Government intervention was necessary due to the complexity of the illegal activities; noting that tax evasion affects most economically deprived regions of the country.

Quam regretted that there are numerous documented cases that miners have been intimidated and physically forced into illegal activities.

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