Sources close to the seat of power in the West African state of Sierra Leone have exposed a dramatic move that some analysts have referred to as shocking, by the Stamford, Connecticut-based Gerald Metals’ attempt to financially bankrupt one of the most successful and productive mining entity in Africa, Timis Corporation, after it was discovered that Gerald Metals have an ongoing dispute with Timis Corporation, and were machinating steps to get rid of all the company’s creditors by pushing to take full control of the company for free by claiming the company had no value. Analysts have described this move by Gerald Metals as illegal, as the action by the company meant that Timis Corporation will not be able to meet its obligation to its creditors and even what it owes to the Sierra Leone government.
All this came in the aftermath of Timis Corporation handing over majority shares to Gerald Metals with a commitment from Gerald Metals to support the mines. And it seems Gerald Metals have reneged on its promise. Not only has Gerald reneged on its promise it seems the US based company is determined to ruin Timis corporation by setting out a nasty agenda so it can assume the mantle of the reins of the company to run the company into liquidation and then take it, free from all debts including what it owes the national government of Sierra Leone.
This ruthless approach by Gerald Metals seems deliberate to inflict as much damage to a company it sees as its biggest obstacle in its desperation to secure for itself a chunk of the mining potential this West African state has to offer. And the attempt to sabotage Timis Corporation, a well-established and successful player in the African Mining landscape may prove to be a fruitless endeavor that will ultimately cost the Connecticut-based company its hard-earned reputation and investor confidence and much-needed trust if it’s to become an important player in the mining sphere of sub-Saharan Africa.
Certain government officials are also reported to collude with Gerald Metals to sabotage the local operations of Timis Corporation, and unconfirmed reports filtering from Freetown seems to suggest that Gerald Metals have formed a new locally based company going with the name Gerald Mining with an attempt to transfer its resources to the local company to camouflage its operations in the country. And officials colluding with Gerald Metals run the risk of securing the wrath of the Head of State, who in no way tolerates such nefarious activities from government officials, and this press is determined to expose any official undermining the government. These officials will be named and shame and the Head of Sate will be urged to take action against them.
The fact remains, that Gerald Metals have never been a true mining Company. The company was renowned for its trading in Metals as its name simply suggests. But having sensed the lucrative potential Timis Corporation has, it decided to throw its fangs in, but has done so with no moral compass and seems to have shrugged off any consequence of its dubious actions.
The Sierra Leone government has taken the step of revoking the mining license of the company at a time when it was legally in force. It seems Gerald Metals may have secured some sort of unusual assurance from some quarters in government and is riding on that confidence to act in the manner in which it is acting.
The Nigeria-based Africa Investment company AIC had expressed interest in investing in the mines but that was rejected by Gerald Metals, a move that increases speculation that Gerald may have done a deal with others to pay off debts privately and secure creditors’ demands and in the process sabotage its laid out agreement with Timis corporation.
This is unacceptable and illegal and sets out the stage for Timis Corporation to resort to legally challenging the actions of Gerald in a court of law. Shareholders may now be more conversant with the acrimonious actions of Gerald Metals and can form their own opinion as to the path the company has now been taken.
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