Shwe Dagon

Shwe Dagon

Friday, October 23, 2015

BURMA JADE & Senior General Than Shwe family

https://www.globalwitness.org/jade-story/
 <em>Without greater transparency, the jade business will continue to represent a giant slush fund for hardliners like Than Shwe and will pose a significant threat to Myanmar’s political transition.</em>

Jade

A Global Witness investigation into
Myanmar's "Big State Secret"

 

To the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar:
  • Develop new ownership, management and revenue sharing arrangements with Kachin State for jade and other natural resources in conjunction with the KIA/KIO and local civil society groups, as part of a comprehensive peace agreement. Ensure that these arrangements maximise the social and economic benefits for the local and national population, taking account of the needs of both current and future generations.
  • Prioritise full implementation of EITI in the jade sector. As such, publish data on: jade licence bidding processes; who current licence-holders are and what licences they hold; jade production volumes; government revenues from jade concessions (broken down by project);other revenues from jade, including revenues from government shares of state-owned enterprises; full contract and licence terms (including environmental and social protections); and arrangements with state-own enterprises.
  • In line with EITI recommendations, require jade concession holders and companies bidding for concessions to disclose publicly the identities of the individuals by whom they are ultimately owned and/or controlled (the ‘ultimate beneficial owners’). In addition require disclosure of any associations with public office holders (past or present), and any past record of corruption or environmental or human rights abuse together with details of measures taken to address such issues.
  • Make the above EITI provisions on data disclosure a requirement of new mining, gemstone and other laws governing the jade business.
  • Immediately review and revise bidding processes for jade concessions in consultation with Kachin and Myanmar civil society to make them open and fair. This should include introducing explicit protections against conflicts of interest and corruption which take account of the identities and histories of bidders.
  • Reinstate the company shareholder details in Myanmar’s company registry, and publish additional information on the ultimate beneficial ownership of companies.
  • Require the accounts of state-owned enterprises (including entities which are partly or wholly owned by the army) to beindependently audited and details of all jade revenue receipts and transfers to the state government to be published.
  • Publish a detailed breakdown of government expenditure so as to allow local people to track where jade money ends up.
  • Review and revise existing laws to bring them into compliance with the EITI Civil Society Protocol and to ensure that civil society and the media are free to hold the government and companies to account over jade sector management and operations without fear of physical, legal, or other forms of retribution.
  • Simplify and clarify taxes on jade, with input from the private sector, local government and civil society and strengthen revenue collection systems to reduce tax evasion, particularly at the mine site.
  • Investigate jade-related corruption involving army, police, government officials and companies; prosecute perpetrators and hold to account those with command responsibility.
  • Cancel any jade mining licences obtained through corruption or held by companies that have broken the law or contributed to human rights or environmental abuses.
  • Review and revise laws, regulations, policies governing the jade sector, and the terms of licences and contracts for jade concessions to ensure they include environmental and social protections in line with international standards including: the UN Human Rights Council’s Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights; the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights; the International Finance Corporation’s Sustainability Framework; and the International Council on Mining and Metals’ Sustainable Development Principles. Amongst other measures, a grievance redress mechanism should be established, in a form agreed after public consultation within Kachin State, with effective penalties for companies which fail to comply with environmental and social protection requirements.
  • Establish an independent monitor to ensure that environmental and social protections are implemented promptly and fully, with regular public reports on breaches identified and how they are being addressed.
  • Pass legislation that prohibits the military, police and other security services, and their individual serving officers, from establishing, operating, or exercising beneficial ownership over companies.
To all donor governments, international financial institutions, and other partners of the Myanmar government:
  • Make funding and other forms of support to the Myanmar government and (in the case of the US) the lifting of sanctions conditional on delivery of the above reforms.
  • Provide technical support to the government’s efforts to implement EITI, particularly with reference to reforms of the jade sector, and to efforts to incorporate EITI principles into laws on natural resource management.
  • Provide technical support to the government, KIA/KIO and Kachin civil society’s development of new ownership, management and revenue sharing arrangements for the management of jade and other natural resources as part of a comprehensive peace agreement.
  • Support, financially and politically, civil society organisations in Kachin State and across Myanmar that are working to increase accountability in the management of natural resources.
To the KIA/KIO:
  • Publish data on management of the jade sector by KIA/KIO authorities, in line with EITI, including details of the KIA/KIO taxation regime, expenditure and oversight.
  • Draw up policy proposals for how Kachin State would manage the jade sector under a federal system, with input from a diverse range of civil society groups in Kachin State.
  • Investigate jade-related corruption involving KIA/KIO officers and officials, prosecute perpetrators and hold to account those with command responsibility.
To jade mining and trading companies:
  • Disclose data in line with EITI requirements. This includes: tax and other payments to government from jade concession holders (broken down by project); names and identifying information (including national identification numbers) of the individuals who own and/or control them; and jade contract and licence terms (including any environmental or social provisions). State-owned enterprises, including army companies, should disclose their stakes in jade mining and trading ventures and transfers of money to other branches of government in line with EITI.
  • Immediately review existing mining operations and halt activities which breach national or international laws and standards on environmental, social, human rights and worker rights.
  • Establish and implement policies and procedures to minimise and mitigate environmental, social and human rights impacts of jade mining operations, in line with international standards including: the UN Human Rights Council’s Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights; the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights; the International Finance Corporation’s Sustainability Framework; and the International Council on Mining and Metals’ Sustainable Development Principles.
To current or prospective international investors in Myanmar:
  • Carry out rigorous due diligence on existing or prospective local partners particularly those with potential connections to the gemstone sector.
  • Publish the names and national identity numbers of all individuals who own and/or control stakes in local ventures, together with background information on these individuals.
    These diagrams set out three of the key jade business networks Global Witness has identified in its research.
    The first one is centred around former dictator Than Shwe and the second around drug lord Wei Pseu Kang. The final diagram sets out the Ever Winner network of companies and connections. Please contact Global Witness for full size versions.
The most valuable jade in the world is found in the Kachin hills of northern Myanmar.
This 12 month investigation reveals it is worth far more than previously thought - up to US$31 billion in 2014 alone. That is equivalent to nearly half the GDP of the whole country, which badly needs it. But hardly any of the money is reaching ordinary people or state coffers.
Instead, the trade is controlled by the military elites, US sanctioned drug lords and crony companies that the country's rebranded government says it is consigning to the past. These networks cream off vast profits while local people suffer terrible abuses and see their natural inheritance ripped out from beneath their feet. These injustices are stoking unrest in an already unstable and volatile region.
As an historic election approaches, it is hard to overstate the significance of these findings to Myanmar’s future. Our investigations show that the elites who between them have most to lose from an open and fair future also have access to a vast slush fund in the shape of the jade sector. This raises real questions for the government of Myanmar and its international partners, especially the US.

Jade is the Myanmar government's big state secret

The most valuable jade in the world is found in the Kachin hills of northern Myanmar.
This 12 month investigation reveals it is worth far more than previously thought - up to US$31 billion in 2014 alone. That is equivalent to nearly half the GDP of the whole country, which badly needs it. But hardly any of the money is reaching ordinary people or state coffers.
Instead, the trade is controlled by the military elites, US sanctioned drug lords and crony companies that the country's rebranded government says it is consigning to the past. These networks cream off vast profits while local people suffer terrible abuses and see their natural inheritance ripped out from beneath their feet. These injustices are stoking unrest in an already unstable and volatile region.
As an historic election approaches, it is hard to overstate the significance of these findings to Myanmar’s future. Our investigations show that the elites who between them have most to lose from an open and fair future also have access to a vast slush fund in the shape of the jade sector. This raises real questions for the government of Myanmar and its international partners, especially the US.

Jade is the Myanmar government's big state secret

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