President Julius Maada Bio Demands Transparency and Accountability at the Beneficial Ownership Conference in Dakar, Senegal

Dakar, Senegal 31 October 2018 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has demanded transparency and accountability at the Extractive Industries Transparency International (EITI) Conference on Beneficial Ownership held at the King Fahd Convention Centre in Dakar, Senegal.

Addressing President Macky Sall of Senegal, some ministers, senior governments’ officials across Africa, officials of World Bank and African Development Bank and officials of the EITI, President Bio said that the history of governance and management of the extractive industries in Africa had produced mixed results.

“In one way, revenues from the extractive industries have financed transformational development projects and infrastructure to provide social services for our citizens. In a more gruesome and tragic way, the exploitation of extractive resources has regrettably financed some of Africa’s most brutal armed conflicts. More worryingly, rogue actors and rogue beneficiaries have squandered away wealth from extractives through opaque ownership arrangements and illicit international financial flows,” he noted.

As an anti-corruption champion in Africa, President Bio also committed his Government to promoting transparency and accountability.

He added: “For my government in Sierra Leone, promoting transparency and accountability in the extractive industries is not only about promoting good governance, but it is also about doing good business. It attracts credible and identifiable investors into the sector and it enhances transparency and accountability for the proceeds from the extractives sector. My country will, therefore, continue to consistently use EITI tools to continually improve management of the overall extractive sector for the benefit of citizens of Sierra Leone”.

He welcomed the EITI’s requirement that information on beneficial ownership be made public by 2020 and stated that Sierra Leone was fully engaged in working assiduously to meet that deadline. President Bio also stated that he was confident that beneficial ownership transparency was another useful tool that would ensure that the extractive sector in Sierra Leone delivered on his promise of transparency in the extractive industries.

Highlighting the concrete steps of his new administration, President Bio stated that: “The Sierra Leone Minerals Policy that is in the final stages of review includes provisions to ensure that companies that own licenses, bid for licenses, or operate licenses in the extractive industries declare their beneficial owners and interests. We are also reviewing the Corporate Affairs Governance Code and developing a more detailed activity and monitoring plan. Additionally, we plan extensive public information and civic engagement on the core points of reform while building our capacity to manage the extractives sector”.

For President Bio, demanding transparency and accountability in the extractive sector was also part of his fight against corruption.

“This segues into my government’s fight against corruption as a pillar of my government’s reform agenda. This fight extends to the extractive industries. We have been using various tools and different approaches to fight corruption. But we believe corruption fights back. Beneficial ownership is a useful and welcome addition to our toolbox to fight corruption in the management of extractives especially as it helps us address corruption by politically exposed persons who have been, for far too long, deeply affiliated with or served as undeclared proxy owners of various businesses in the extractive sector. It also helps us fight against illicit international money laundering and other illicit financial flows that are facilitated through complicity with government and other officials.”

Earlier before the conference, His Excellency President Bio also held a bilateral meeting with the Chair of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Fredrik Reinfeldt, the former Swedish Prime Minister who commended President Bio for his transparent leadership, his fight against corruption and commitment to reform the extractives sector in Sierra Leone. Fredrik Reinfeldt also assured President Bio that EITI would support his new government’s reforms in the extractives sector, including the review of the Mines and Minerals Act. Also, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio was received by his friend and colleague, His Excellency President Macky Sall before the start of the conference.

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