Monthly Archives: June 2015

Canada: Nuclear Waste Dump Must Not Proceed Without the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation

Africa: Actionaid On Tax Avoidance

18th June 2015

The poorest country in the world lost US$43 million in six years to a combination of tax avoidance and tax breaks by a single mining company – ActionAid Report

The poorest country in the world has lost US$43 million in revenue from a single company over the last six years to a combination of tax avoidance and harmful tax incentives.

Malawi lost the money from Paladin, an Australian uranium mining company, which operates the Kayelekera mine in the country, according ActionAid’s new report.

According to figures from the World Bank, Malawi is the poorest country in the world. Average life expectancy is just 55 years and approximately 10 percent of people are living with HIV/AIDS.

The company’s actions are entirely legal.The company negotiated a secret tax break with the Malawian government worth over US$15.635m.

It then avoided paying a further US$27.52 million in Malawi by routing interest and management fee payments to Australia via a subsidiary in the Netherlands which by its own accounts employs no staff.

Current global taxation rules continue to allow tax breaks and tax avoidance by routing money through tax havens.

ActionAid Country Director Martha Khonje said: “Malawi has very high levels of HIV/AIDS infection. Our health service is threadbare and there are three nurses for every ten thousand people. The idea that a company has not had to pay millions of US dollars in the country in tax is grotesque. ”

In one year this lost revenue could have paid for one of the following:

431,000 HIV/AIDS treatments; or

17,000 nurse salaries; or

8,500 doctors’ salaries; or

39,000 teachers’ salaries

ActionAid Tax Policy Adviser Anders Dahlbeck said:”This money could have played a key role in tackling extreme poverty among women and children in the poorest country on earth.

“It is also shocking that global attempts at reforming international tax rules led by the G20 will still leave developing countries wide open to losing money this way through harmful tax incentives and tax avoidance.

“Much more ambitious reforms including all countries, not just the richest, are essential to stop poorer countries losing out to multinationals.”

ActionAid warns that EU tax reforms announced in Brussels today will not stop European countries like the Netherlands enabling companies to exploit developing countries and deprive them of vital funds needed to pay for basic services like schools and hospitals.

SOURCE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201506181741.html

South Africa: Release Marikana report now – Mpofu

2015-06-08 13:02

Pretoria – In a court packed with mineworkers and their families and friends on Monday, advocate Dali Mpofu fought to have the report into the Marikana killings released immediately, instead of waiting for the president to do so by June 30.Such was the interest that the urgent application was moved to a larger courtroom. Even then, people had to stand against the walls, squashed into the benches, or crept into the court to not disturb proceedings, removing their caps and beanies, and sitting on the floor in the aisles.

Mpofu began by rejecting President Jacob Zuma‘s submission that the court did not have the jurisdiction to release retired Judge Ian Farlam‘s report into the August 2012 shootings, and that it was not urgent.

Many in the public gallery wore white overalls bearing the logo of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) sewn onto them and held posters that read: “Release the Marikana Report Now.”

Judge Neil Tuchten had to pause while even more people filed in and were allowed to sit in front seats usually reserved for lawyers.

There was also a small group of Economic Freedom Fighters members. Mpofu is the EFF chairperson.

‘Irrational’

Mpofu said that if it was a report about satellites in outer space he would not care, but when it came to the dignity of the mineworkers and their families, the decision to not release it was “irrational”.

Former president Nelson Mandela had released the enormous Truth and Reconciliation Report to the public at the same time as he received it, because he appreciated its importance, said Mpofu, so why could Zuma not do the same.

The president has also revealed that it was not just he who has to read the report, based on 40,000 pages of transcriptions. He has a team of trusted officials reading this document, which was reportedly 600 pages long.

Mpofu said when Zuma attended a meeting of the SA Development Community, he abandoned the meeting and within 24 hours announced that there would be an inquiry into the August 2012 shooting, which was “good work”.

At the time Zuma said the commission “must move very quickly”.

He received the final report on March 31.

”Now how can all of a sudden now… the very same president… say it must now take three months just to ponder over the implications?

“Whatever the political implications of this report are, they are not going to go away. They are there.”

‘Why must he keep it a secret?’

The application is by mineworkers who were wounded and arrested in clashes with police in August 2012 during a protracted pay strike for a minimum salary of R12 500 a month.

On August 12, 34 miners were killed. An inquiry set up by Zuma and chaired by Judge Farlam also investigated the deaths of 10 people, including two security guards and two police officers, the preceding week.

“Why must he keep it a secret? Why can’t he consider the demilitarisation of the police while he releases the report?” said Mpofu.

“Nobody has explained why all these big things must be done when the victims are in the dark.

“Part of it is for survivors to say to their children that their fathers were killed by the police in self-defence, or they were just killed by the police.”

‘A continuing wrong’

Mpofu said that Zuma had said he needed time to come to terms with the report on the events, which had stirred up emotions.

The applicants said that their anxiety and yearning for dignity and the right to know was being violated every day.

“It’s what in normal civil law we call a ‘continuing wrong’.

“We have waited for this report, we know that it was given on the 31st of March. It would have been great if it was released at the same time,” he said.

Mpofu said that while the applicants understood that Zuma had to study the report, they now wanted to see it.

In terms of the Constitution, they were entitled to see the report now, and were also entitled to bring it to the High Court in Pretoria, and not first the Constitutional Court, as the president had submitted.

The application continues.

SOURCE: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Release-Marikana-report-now-Mpofu-20150608