The conviction of controversial businessman Beny Steinmetz for corrupt dealings in Guinea via the company BSGR was a wake-up call for governments that had granted mining rights to BSGR over many years. In Sierra Leone, a subsidiary of the company was already making headlines because of legal action brought by communities affected by the company’s mining operations.
Governments need to protect their mining sector from dishonest investors and irresponsible operators. Allegations and findings of corruption, conflicts of interests and questionable conduct are relevant considerations for government officials when deciding whether a company should be granted mining rights.
Integrity due diligence involves companies disclosing, and governments checking, the owners, political connections and integrity record and reputation of the company as part of evaluating its licence application or bid. It is a way that governments can prevent companies with a history of non-compliance, illegal conduct and corporate abuse from doing business in the country. The World Bank, Natural Resource Governance Institute and Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment have developed useful guidance and resources.
This blog series features developments in four countries where Transparency International national chapters are actively working to have their governments introduce rigorous beneficial ownership and integrity due diligence as part of the licensing process.