Uganda could face possible sanction by the United States over the import of gold from Venezuela.
This is because a gold refinery established by a foreign national at Entebbe-Uganda was cited as having imported 7.4 tons of questionable gold from Venezuela.
According to sources, the gold from Venezuela found its way to Entebbe before it would be transported back to the European market.
African Gold Refinery is alleged to have exported 3.8 tons of gold that is suspected that have originated from Venezuela before Uganda police raided the AGR offices to seize the balance of 3.8 that has clashed Ugandan Attorney General with the police charged with manning minerals.
The AG wrote on March 26, to the commandant of the police mineral protection unit detailing that African Gold Refinery Limited operates as a bonded warehouse with a license Number WO408 under the East African Customs Management Act, 2004 (EACMA) under section 48 of the EACMA, bonded warehouses may be exempted from paying of duty on first importation into the bonded warehouse.
“Pursuant to the directive of H.E. the President, dated April 26, 2017, reference PO/1, communicated to Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and the letter from Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to AGR dated June 5, 2018, reference CUST/T/3/16, government granted AGR bonded facility exemption from import duty in accordance with section 164 part XIII of the East African Community Customs Management Act, 2004.” Mr William Byaruhanga wrote.
Adding “Accordingly, URA granted clearance of the two consignments on March 1, 2019 and March 4, 2019 respectively in line with exemption already granted by government and also issued release orders for the consignments”.
However, police maintains that gold seized from AGR must pay duty and up date, the police still keeps presence at AGR prompting AG to order them leave the offices.
“In light of the above, you are directed to withdraw your officers deployed at AGR premises and release any gold that may have been seized or impounded during this investigation”
On January 31, 2019, the US department of the Treasury’s office of foreign assets control added Venezuela’s state owned oil and gas company to its list of specially designated nationals and blocked person. The executive order 13827, issued on March 19, 2018, prohibits dealings in debt owed to the government of Venezuela.
However, in his letter, Mr. Byaruhanga warns AGR to desist from importation of more gold from Venezuela as the US sanctions could target Uganda.
“Concerning the current sanctions imposed by United States government on Venezuela, in view of the principle of comity, by copy of this letter, AGR is instructed henceforth, save the gold comprising of the consignments that have been the subject of investigation, cease and desist from any further importation of gold from Venezuela, until further notice”.