Mgonja, Ndulu differ on Tangold ownership By Richard Mgamba and Mkinga Mkinga THE CITIZEN Confusion on who were the real owners of Tangold - the predecessor of the defunct Meremeta Gold - yesterday took another twist after two senior government officials gave contradicting statements. Whereas Treasury permanent secretary Gray Mgonja assured The Citizen that he had acted as a signatory to the firm's bank account on behalf of the Government, Bank of Tanzania governor Prof Benno Ndulu said he had no clue as to who where the company's real owners. The contradiction started after The Citizen asked Mr Mgonja to state who owned the shadowy company. ''Just contact the Bank of Tanzania� they are the ones who know exactly who owns this company,'' he replied. But reached for comment, Prof Ndulu said: ''Tangold is not part of BoT projects and please don't associate the central bank with that company. ''People might say that we know Tangold because former governor Dr Daudi Ballali was one of its directors, but this bank now is under new management.'' Prof Ndulu told The Citizen over the phone that he was also told that Tangold was owned by the Government, but added that there was neither proof nor adequate information. BoT is reported to have paid Sh155 billion to Meremeta gold which collapsed soon after. The cash was paid through a South African bank. Tangold is said to have taken over all business and debts of Meremeta. The ownership has been an issue of great concern with parliamentarians questioning why the company was paid so much money for purposes that are still unclear. In an interview with The Citizen in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Mr Mgonja said: ''I believe that Tangold is a government-owned firm and I was one of its directors.'' Mr Mgonja's remarks come amid reports that the presidential select committee tasked with reviewing mining contracts had failed to establish who are the real owners of Tangold as well as the defunct Meremeta. ''May be there's something fishy that I don't know about this company. But as far as I am concerned, it is owned a hundred per cent by the Government,'' Mr Mgonja insisted. Registered in Mauritius According to reports made available to this newspaper, Tangold was registered in Mauritius in 2005 as an offshore company. This is despite the former minister for Energy and Minerals, Mr Nazir Karamagi, telling Parliament last August that the firm was fully owned by the Government. Independent sources suggest that Tangold was registered on April 8, 2005 as an offshore company in Mauritius with a registration No. C 205006121. Ten months after it was registered, it was subsequently incorporated as a branch of a foreign company at Business Registration and Licensing Authority (Brela). It was given a certificate of compliance No. 55661 of February 20, 2006. A few months after the defunct Meremeta was dubiously paid billions of shillings, Tangold was also paid by BoT a total of $13.7 million (Sh17 billion) through a bank in Dar es Salaam. However, the company also failed to operate the Buhemba Gold mine. Tangold claimed that it wasn�t able to operate Buhemba Gold mine, advising that another company with expertise in large-scale mining takes over. Tangold management entered into a contract with a South African based Time Mining company to operate the mine. One of the key conditions was that Time Mining would mine, process and export gold. Thereafter it would report to the BoT governor about the total ounces of gold produced and sold abroad. But, after mining gold for about one year, Time Mining closed down its business last year, citing low deposit at the mine. Responding to Dr Willibrod Slaa�s questions about ''tricks'' played at the mine, Mr Karamagi told the 13th session of the Parliament in August last year, that Tangold was 100 per cent owned by the Government. However, the Memorandum and Articles of Association filed during the registration of the company do not show in any of the articles or even by implication, that Tangold is a government owned company. For instance, section 7 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association indicates that the shares may be transferred to members of the Family of the Shareholders that is father, mother, wife, and children. This construction according to legal procedures can only happen to private owned but not in a memorandum of a company owned 100 per cent by the Government. According to investigations by The Citizen, the Registrar of Treasury, who owns in trust all government property does not appear anywhere in the statutory documents of Tangold. In June last year, Mr Karamagi assured the Parliament that the defunct Meremeta Gold company was jointly owned by the Government and Trenex Pty Ltd. Mr Karamagi added that, Tangold, which was another company formed by the Government to takeover all business of the defunct Meremeta gold, was fully owned by the government. ''As I said earlier Meremeta suspended its operation legally whereby its debts and assets were transferred to a new company called Tangold, which is 100 per cent owned by the Government.'' Mr Karamagi who resigned in February this year after he was implicated in Richmond scandal report assured the Parliament. With Presidential select mining inquiry committee expected to handle-over its report to the head of state this week, Tangold and Meremeta are among the thorny issues that are expected to re-emerge.