The Director General of National Mineral Agency (NMA), Julius Daniel Mattai, his office and Kimberlite certification license, with other official documents, have been cloned by scammers without him knowing. “I’ve been cloned without my knowledge as I’ve heard people who have said they’ve met the Director General at an office, but not NMA, at New England. So it means that there are people actually replicating our offices, signing documents on behalf of the director of mines and the director of precious mineral trading without our knowledge,” Mattai disclosed. Over the past six months Sierra Leone Government have been trying to sanitize the mining industry, however, notwithstanding government’s effort the industry is a cluttering minefield of scammers. “I would challenge you, if you go on the internet and Google Sierra Leone’s fake gold; you will see a whole lot of dubious sites and individuals involved,” commented the Director General. He explained that there are Sierra Leoneans who are spending huge amount of money ranging from $200,000 up to $500,000 to scam investors. “They actually duplicate our licenses, the Kimberlite certification scheme license, and other official documents,” he said. The DG revealed, “…one thing I know for sure these crimes are not being perpetuated by individuals it must be a cartel.”
Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
“Every month I get evidence sent to us and sometimes we have passports of these scammers, but it bothers me that this has been going for decades not much has been done. I fully agree that it is something we need to address; it is a cancer that we have to find some form of medication for, because it is tarnishing this country. I have video recording here of investors who have been scammed… pleading with us to intervene.” He said the agency has been working with TOCU, the Ministry of Internal Affairs; and the police to ensure these crimes are addressed. The DG further explained that upon returning from Dubai, President Bio explained to him “the concern of people in Dubai “this is a menace and it is growing by the day,” he said. “I want to say… I want to blame the investors, but you have other investors who are also gullible. I do not know what the motivation is I do not want to say its greed,” said the DG. “If a kilo of gold is $50,000 USD now and someone says he is offering it for $20,000 USD, something must be wrong. In the last six months we’ve confiscated six items and arrested some people and handed them over to the police. We have provided them with the right equipment and we are also going on a sensitization drive, we are actually putting a booklet together for investors in the mining sector so that we would share with all embassies, High Commissions and also share it at point of entry, hotels as well so people are aware.” He said “one thing we cannot do is try to control the greedy investors out there who via FaceBook and the internet these people with fictitious websites tell them to just send money for gold.” “Officially in 2019, we only did 75 kilos of gold. But, trust me, scammers must have done tons of fictitious ones, mostly brass bars coated, but again this is a fight we cannot do alone, I think it is a responsibility for every Sierra Leonean. I’m concerned notwithstanding that we are creating the right environment for business we are making sure there are fiscal regimes, are transparent and our regulator frameworks are fine, we are making sure we develop pool of educated young men and women so when investors come they do have them.”
By Ophaniel Gooding
Login or Subscribe to read the entire article