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India Turning a Blind Eye to Smuggled Gold

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New report reveals India to be one of the largest gold smuggling hubs in the world.

As a result, gold that is tied to conflict, human rights abuses, and corruption in Africa and South America is entering legal international markets through India.

In its latest report, A Golden Web: How India Became One of the World’s Largest Gold Smuggling Hubs,  IMPACT uncovers how India imports approximately 1,000 tons of gold per year—a quarter more than official figures indicate. Some enters as legal imports thanks to falsified paperwork.

“Actors across India’s gold industry are failing to do proper checks on where gold comes from to ensure it’s not financing conflict and human rights violations,” according to Joanne Lebert, IMPACT’s Executive Director. “With its role as a leading global gold manufacturing centre, India must take action to address the weaknesses in its gold supply chain.”

IMPACT’s research reveals that one third of the world’s gold passes through India, the heart of the world’s gold manufacturing sector. With its gold jewellery exports on the rise, India has become one of the world’s leading trading hubs—with illicit gold entering country, being transformed into goods, and leaving for international markets, including North America.

The report identifies three primary factors which allow a problem of this magnitude:

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Tax breaks: To boost India’s refinery sector, the government introduced tax breaks in 2013 for gold doré –also known as unrefined gold. This has led to traders covering up questionable provenance claims by falsifying documentation of gold doré to take advantage of lower taxes. Gold doré imports shot from 23 tons in 2012 to over 229 tons in 2015 as a result of these tax breaks.

Falsified origin documents: Gold doré imports have spiked, with the majority coming from producing countries that lack strong internal controls or are linked to supply chains with weak evidence of due diligence. Analysis of trade data reveals more declared gold imports to India than some countries are capable of producing, such as in the Dominican Republic and Tanzania, as well as instances of paperwork fraud like in Ghana. In the case of the Dominican Republic, as much as 100.63 tons of gold doré imported to India between 2014 and 2017 cannot be accounted for in the country’s gold production.

Complicit allies: Refined gold is being smuggled into India primarily from the United Arab Emirates, while key traders and refiners in Africa’s Great Lakes region with links to India have been identified as being part of the illicit gold trade.

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To tackle the problem, IMPACT calls on India to take immediate steps to:

  1. Harmonize its taxes, including between doré and refined gold to discourage smuggling; and
  2. Enhance regulatory controls at the border to require additional, valid information for all imports of all artisanal gold.

“India is at the heart of a web of the illicit trade of gold, with threads spanning the globe and almost certainly financing conflict and corruption. Authorities must take action to remove incentives for gold smuggling and ensure the gold industry implements due diligence. Anyone buying India’s gold jewellery should be asking questions about where that gold comes from to have confidence in their supply chain,” adds Lebert.

IMPACT also calls on actors across India’s gold industry to implement due diligence on their gold supply chains. Gold traders, refiners, and jewellers have a responsibility to understand, mitigate, and publically report on any risks in their supply chain—all the way back to the mine site.

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Catholic bishops advocate review of Nigeria’s security architecture

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Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, comprising Ibadan Archdiocese, Ilorin, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo Dioceses, on Tuesday called for a thorough review of Nigeria’s security architecture.

The bishops, who gathered at the Jubilee Conference Centre in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, also expressed concern over the rising insecurity in the country, adding that it was unfortunate that the Federal Government has remained impervious to this call.

The meeting had in attendance, Most. Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin, (Ibadan), Most. Rev. Felix Ajakaiye (Ekiti), Most. Rev. Emmanuel Badejo (Oyo), Most. Rev. Felix Job (Ibadan).

Others are: Most. Rev. AyoMaria Atoyebi (Ibadan), Most. Rev. John Oyejola (Osogbo), Most. Rev. Jude Arogundade (Ondo) and Most. Rev. Paul Olawoore (Ilorin).

According to them, “With the current realities, it has become more necessary than ever to demand the review of Nigeria’s security architecture. Given  the campaign promises of the present government and the cauldrons of insecurity erupting all over the country, it is unfortunate that the Federal Government has remained impervious to this call. As a consequence, we parade a Nigerian Army that has not been able to effectively check the atrocities of Boko Haram for over a decade. How does one deny the allegation that kidnapping and banditry are abetted by government when  even State governments pay bandits and herdsmen as a means of placating them?

“How can we claim to have a Nigeria Police, when the body is no longer trusted to protect the same people it was set up to serve in many parts of the country?”, the bishops questioned.

The Catholic Bishops, in a communique jointly signed by the President, Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin and the Secretary, Most Rev. John Oyejola  at the end of  their first meeting for the year 2021, identified the ongoing effort of the governors of some South Western States  to regulate the activities of Fulani herdsmen within the zone, noting that insincerity, selfish interests and lack of political will had in the past, caused needless destruction of life and property and inflicted untold pain and hardship on innocent citizens.

However, they urged the governors to shun deceptive adulations and empty promises on issues that impact the security of life and property.

The communique read, “they must work with the security agencies to courageously implement the law in all cases and sanction those who blatantly and murderously flout it in their territories. No Nigerian or foreigner should be above the law in any part of the country.

“It is frustrating to see Governors, constitutionally empowered  as the first security officers of their States, being impeded and rendered ineffective by mitigating actions and pronouncements allegedly made on behalf of the Federal government, when they take lawful steps to respond to security needs in their States. Such manner of governance, that exerts itself to protect the interest of a segment of the population at the expense of the security of life and property of the majority, makes the emergence  of militias and self-appointed messiahs inevitable.

“We therefore join all well-meaning Nigerians who have called on the authorities to allow alternative and lawful initiatives which are established for protecting life and property like the South Western Security Network (SWSN), codenamed Amotekun, to thrive. Such initiatives deserve to be supported and optimised  as a complimentary security organization for the benefit of the people in different parts of Nigeria”.

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Properties worth over N50m lost to inferno – Sunday Igboho reacts

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Yoruba activist and Oodua  Republic agitator, Chief  Sunday Adeyemo popularly known as ‘Sunday Igboho’ has said that properties worth  over N50 million has been lost to the early Tuesday morning inferno at his Soka residence in Ibadan

Reacting on Tuesday, shortly after his house went up in flames, Sunday Igboho explained that the arsonists broke the gate to the building to gain entrance before setting the house on fire.

He stressed that the two people living in the house fled for their lives in the chaos.

“Around 03:30 am this morning, my siblings living in my old house came to alert me that some hoodlums were at the house, shooting sporadically, and that they had forced the gate open and set the house ablaze.

“My siblings escaped unhurt but my house was burnt. When we got there, the hoodlums had escaped so we called the fire service to put out the fire.

“I am surprised that some Yoruba people could be supporting killer herdsmen to destroy my house. This saddens me.

“My agitations are for all of us to come together against killer herdsmen who have been terrorizing the Yorubas by kidnapping, killing our brothers, and raping our women in Yoruba Land.

“To my amazement, some Yoruba people are aiding these killer herdsmen.

I expected them to come and attack my residence where I live now to show that they mean business.

“I assure you if they had, I would have been able to give you evidence of the hoodlums that did this.

“The property destroyed in that inferno would not be less than fifty million”, he added.

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2 Operatives Injured , As Youths Attacked Amotekun In Oyo {Photos}

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The Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed Operation Amotekun, in Oyo state has confirmed that two of its operatives from Ilesiwaju Local Government Area of the state were attacked by some ‘misguided youths’.

Oyo Amotekun also informed that though, there was no loss of life, but the officers were severely injured and are in critical condition at an undisclosed hospital.

It added that vehicles belonging to Itesiwaju Area Command were completely vandalized .

The state Command, in a statement issued on Monday explained, “On the 23rd of January 2021, two of our operatives from Itesiwaju LGA were travelling to Ago-Are enroute Tede were brutally attacked without provocation.

“They were granted free passage at Ago -Are end upon the explanation that they were from Itesiwaju LG and are on routine mission.

“However, at Tede end some misguided youths attacked the operatives with guns, matchetes and axes.

“Though there was no loss of life, our two operatives were severely injured and are in critical condition at the hospital.

 

“Unfortunately, after this unprovoked attack and assault, our vehicles belonging to Itesiwaju Area Command were completely vandalised and damaged”, the statement concluded.

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