Urgent probe of Zimplats after Panama Papers leak
IMPALA Platinum and government officials in Zimbabwe will probe the alleged involvement of the company’s Zimplats unit after leaked papers showed it used an offshore company to pay salaries of management in Zimbabwe.
Fin24 reported on Monday that Zimplats had been implicated in the Panama Papers. The leaked documents from a law firm in Panama showed that Zimplats engaged an offshore company, HR Consultancy, to pay management in Zimbabwe.
Johan Theron, Implats spokesperson, told Voice of America late on Tuesday that the company would institute a probe into this. Implats had earlier said in a statement that Zimplats had not engaged HR Consultancy.
The Panama law firm, Mossack Fonseca, is accused of helping companies, celebrities, businessmen and politicians launder money through illicit financial flows, shell companies, offshore accounts and busting sanctions in the leaked documents.
Implats had “prioritised transparency in all our dealings and gone out of our way to transact fairly, openly and to transact and pay taxes in the countries in which we operate as far as possible,” Theron was quoted saying.
The world’s second largest miner of the precious metal said it will “initiate an urgent full investigation into the purported Zimplats links with the Zimbabwe authorities,” said Theron.
The leak reveals that HR Consultancy received funds to pay managers at the company, but did not name the recipients.
“We receive the funds to cover the total salaries from Zimplats and pay the managers accordingly,” correspondence leaked by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reveals.
A government official told Fin24 that the issue would be taken up by the central bank and the tax authority.
“Foreign Exchange regulations may have been violated by both the companies and the individuals and the central bank will take this up. Foreign currency externalisation has become a major worry and tax authorities will be instructed to look into this in detail,” said the Zimbabwe official, declining to be named.
In South Africa, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said individuals and corporate organisations implicated in the Panama Papers leak would be probed by the Reserve Bank, the South Africa Revenue Service and other authorities in the country. Fin24
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