Mwapachu exits board of Kenyan-linked UK gold firm

EAC secretary general Juma Mwapachu. FILE PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NMG
EAC secretary general Juma Mwapachu. FILE PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NMG  

British exploration firm Acacia Mining has announced the exit of its only Tanzanian board member Mr Juma Mwapachu amid a raging dispute with the government over revenue transparency.

The firm, which is currently exploring for gold in Kenya, yesterday said Mr Mwapachu had decided to retire at the end of his three-year term.

“Acacia announces that following the expiry of his second three-year term of appointment, Ambassador (ret’d) Juma V. Mwapachu has decided to retire from the Acacia Board of Directors with effect from 13 July 2017,” the firm said in its regulatory announcements.

The diplomat’s exit from Acacia board now leaves it with seven directors, including four independent, non-executive directors, two non-executive directors and one executive director with none from Africa.

Ambassador  Mwapachu who was Tanzania’s key diplomat in France from 2002 to 2006 was also the Secretary General of the East African Community prior to his appointment to the Acacia board.

In February, Acacia Mining announced the discovery of gold deposits worth an estimated Sh165 billion in Kakamega County.

The firm has been embroiled in a revenue dispute with President John Magufuli’s administration with indications that it was mooting an exit from Tanzania over huge losses.

Last week, the mineral explorer said an arbitration notice had been served to the Tanzanian government as part of a dispute resolution plan.

“The serving of the Notices at this time is necessary to protect the Company, but, this notwithstanding, Acacia remains of the view that a negotiated resolution is the preferable outcome to the current disputes and the Company will continue to work to achieve this.”