One of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has blocked a proposal to impose tough sanctions on gold exported from Uganda.
ChimpReports learned that France had recently asked the UNSC to sanction the Uganda-based Africa Gold Refinery (AGR), which processes gold worth billions of dollars for export overseas.
France argued that AGR was involved in the illicit movement of gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Previously, the United States had imposed sanctions on AGR and its owner Alain Goetz, claiming they were involved in the illicit trade in DRC natural resources that provided income to armed groups, thus threatening peace, security and stability of this vast country rich in minerals. .
France is heavily involved in the exploitation of natural resources in the DR Congo.
However, the emergence of AGR, whatever its weaknesses, saw all gold traders in the region start selling their gold to the Entebbe-based gold refinery.
Gold shipments had been negligible for Uganda, but began to rise sharply after a major refiner, Africa Gold Refinery, set up shop in 2016 near Entebbe airport.
Cumulative gold exports between February 2020 and February 2021 amounted to $2 billion (7.6 trillion shillings), or at least 44% of the $4.57 billion in total export earnings, according to the Bank of Uganda statistics.
Yet France wants all the gold in the region to be exported in raw form to Paris and other European capitals.
Sources told this investigative site that President Museveni was angry with France and even called their envoy to Uganda, Jules-Armand Aniambossou, over the proposal to sanction Ugandan gold.
Officials revealed that Museveni had alerted Ugandan diplomats in New York to mobilize against France’s motion before the Security Council.
“Museveni was told that unlike the US sanctions, the UN sanctions are heavy as they would have required all 196 member states to shun Ugandan gold,” said a reliable source who preferred anonymity to speak. express freely.
“Our gold sector would have been in trouble because the whole world would have shunned our gold,” the source said, adding, “And that means artisanal miners and everyone who benefits from the gold trade would have paid a heavy price. “.
Informal methods of gold production, known in the industry as “artisanal” or small-scale mining, are growing in many parts of Uganda. They have provided livelihoods for millions of Ugandans and are helping some to earn more money than they could ever dream of through traditional crafts.
The Entebbe-based gold refinery has a refining capacity of 219 tonnes per year and is considered one of the largest gold refineries in Africa, after refineries in South Africa and Ghana.
ChimpReports now understands that earlier this week the permanent member of the security council said he was “blocking nomination proposals” containing sanctions against AGR and Goetz.
The country also said its independent investigations had found no “hard evidence” or “validated information” to justify sanctions on Ugandan gold.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia have a right of veto.
In addition to the five permanent members, the UN Security Council also has 10 members elected for a two-year term without veto power.
The blocking of the motion against Ugandan gold by a permanent member means that the proposals are dead. However, US sanctions remain in place.
Nonetheless, the Security Council member state said it endorses all efforts to ensure transparency in the exploitation of DR Congo’s natural resources, especially if trade revenues provide financial muscle to armed movements.