Karamagi vows to stick to his words By Mkinga Mkinga THE CITIZEN Former Energy and Minerals minister Nazir Karamagi said yesterday that he stood by his account of the ownership of the secretive Meremeta and Tangold companies. Mr Karamagi made the remarks three days after the presidential select mining review committee presented its report to President Jakaya Kikwete. The ownership of Tangold and Meremeta are among the thorny issues that are expected to re-emerge following the handing over of the report. Some MPs have said they are planning to table a motion in Parliament calling for disciplinary action against Mr Karamagi, accusing him of lying to the House. Karatu MP Willibrod Slaa says this follows revelations by the committee that neither Meremeta nor Tangold was owned by the Government as claimed by Mr Karamagi and other top government officials. We are just waiting for the release of the report before proceeding with parliamentary procedures to ensure that he (Karamagi) is punished for lying to the House, the Chadema legislator said. In July last year, Mr Karamagi told Parliament that the defunct Meremeta Gold Company was co-owned by the Government and Trenex Pty Ltd. Mr Karamagi added that Tangold, which was another company formed by the Government to take over the business operations of the defunct Meremeta Gold, was wholly owned by the latter. And yesterday he insisted that he still believed that the two companies were owned by the Government. I stand by my words. Even if the Bomani Committee has established something different, what I know is that Meremeta and Tangold were owned by the Government. Although I haven't read the report compiled by the review committee, I will not change my stance. The Bukoba Rural MP, who resigned from his ministerial post in February this year after being implicated in the Richmond scandal, added: Whatever I said in Parliament last year was based on documents from the Government. Asked whether was ready to face the consequence should Parliament prove that he lied to the august House, Mr Karamagi responded: The current Energy and Minerals minister will be responsible and not me as Karamagi. You need to understand that I spoke before the Parliament as minister, not as a private individual. What I presented in the House were details obtained from the ministry. It would have been immoral for me to question documents submitted by senior government officials from my ministry. The question on who are the real owners of Tangold which succeeded the defunct Meremeta Gold has created confusion with top Government officials issuing contradictory statements. Recently, Treasury permanent secretary Gray Mgonja echoed Mr Karamagi's words that the Government owns the company. He advised this newspaper to contact Bank of Tanzania governor Prof Benno Ndulu for confirmation. However, Prof Ndulu distanced himself and BoT from the controversial gold firm, saying he has no clues on the real owner of Tangold. According to reports made available to The Citizen, Tangold which also pocketed about Sh17 billion, was registered in Mauritius in 2005 as an offshore company, contrary to what the parliament was told in August last year. It was registered on April 8, 2005 as an offshore company in Mauritius registration No C 205006121. Ten months after it was registered as an offshore company, it subsequently registered as a branch of a foreign company at Business Registration and Licensing Authority, and given a certificate of compliance No. 55661 dated February 20, 2006. It is said to have taken over all business and debts of Meremeta gold, which collapsed suddenly after being paid a whopping amount of Sh155 billion by the BoT through South African bank. Few months after the defunct Meremeta was dubiously paid billions for the unknown expenditures, Tangold also was paid by BoT a total of $13.7m (Sh17.1 billion) through a Dar es Salaam bank on December 29, 2005. However, after receiving the whopping amount, the company failed to operate the Buhemba Gold mine, with the Government losing billions of shillings in taxpayers money.