Prominent Freetown – based diamond exporter, Hisham Mackie has been granted a scandalous tax concession to enable him pay 3% instead of 15% on a diamond which he has already exported.
The 153 carats diamond valued at US$8M (Eight Million United States dollars) was recently found in the Kamara Chiefdom, Kono district.
The National Minerals Agency Act makes provision for 15% to be taxed on all special stones valued at over US$500,000. Nobody knows why President Ernest Bai Koroma had to hurriedly alter the tax arrangement in order to favour Mr. Mackie of Mackie Diamond Office.
The insistence from State House for the new tax policy to be implemented on the day the special stone was to be valued and exported has raised serious concern in the diplomatic community. Civil society groups are also up in arms against the government for the special arrangement.
The Harmonization of Tariffs on Special Stones appears to have been influenced by Mr. Mackie, who is now dubbed the Jamil Sahid Mohamed of Sierra Leone.
Mr. Mackie enjoys the monopoly of managing Sierra Leone’s gateway. It is even rumoured that, the Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma is about to extend the management of the gateway contract to another one year against World Bank advice.
The World Bank has threatened to withdraw support for the communications sector in Sierra Leone. The bank paid US$39M to land the fibre in Sierra Leone.
SIERRA LEONE GOVERNMENT
MINISTRY OF MINERAL RESOURCES
5TH FLOOR, YOUYI BUILDING
19th February, 2014
The Director General
National Minerals Agency (NMA)
13 Wilkinson Road
HARMONIZATIONS OF TARIFFS ON SPECIAL STONES
Consequent upon an Advisory Note forwarded to His Excellency the President by the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources on the harmonization of tariffs with the sub region on special stones, I have been instructed by the Honourable Minister to inform you that His Excellency the President has approved the reduction of tariffs on special stones from 15% to 3%. This approval is with immediate effect.
Kindly circularise this information to all parties concerned for subsequent transactions.
F.S. Mustapha (Mrs.)