A research into the beneficial ownership disclosure of mining companies in Ghana has recommended strict examination of applicants’ background before approval is granted.
This due diligence, the research believes would ensure that persons with questionable characters would be uprooted from the Ghanaian mining space.
These recommendations were contained in the 17-page research document put together by the Director of the Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy, Bismark Adongo Ayorogo, for the Opening Extractives Programme and Global Impact.
Titled ‘Research on beneficial ownership disclosure and integrity screening of mining companies in Ghana,’ the report examined the background of directors and shareholders of mining companies in the Upper East Region.
“It is worth restating that effective due diligence in screening the true owners and integrity of mining companies applying for mining rights, does not only strengthen government conscious efforts to do away with hard core criminals and potential terrorist groups in the mining sector.
“It also helps to improve the investment attractiveness of the country to companies that may otherwise be concerned about the risks of competing against dishonest competitors or about the integrity standards in the country.
“It is therefore recommended that beneficial ownership disclosure and integrity screening of mining companies be prioritised by the Minerals Commission and Ghana Police Service in the due diligence process of granting mineral rights to mining companies to avert government inadvertently handing over mineral rights to the country’s most valuable natural resources to mining companies whose directors have a history of corporate misconduct and illegal activity including drug offences, tax evasion, money laundering among others.”
According to the report, some mining firms had significant environmental breaches and other abuses that must be properly checked.
Using the in-depth interview as a qualitative research instrument, respondents in the report included officers from the Registrar-General’s Department, Security Experts, Minerals Commission, Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice and directors/shareholders of the mining companies.
The research defined due diligence or integrity screening as “companies making disclosures, and mandated state institutions not only checking the owners and political connections of these owners but also doing background check on the integrity record and reputation of the company as part of evaluating its mineral right application.”