A review of the UNCTAD report on trade misinvoicing, with a focus on South Africa’s gold export
In July 2016, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published a report titled “Trade Mis-invoicing in Primary Commodities in Developing Countries: The cases of Chile, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia.”
This report contained serious accusations. The report asserted, among other things, that South African miners of silver, platinum group metals, gold and iron ore had systematically and fraudulently indulged in mis-invoicing in order to evade taxes and other legal obligations.
In respect of gold, specifically, the report stated: “Between 2000 and 2014, under-invoicing of gold exports from South Africa amounted to $78.2 billion, or 67% of total gold exports” and that this “does not appear to be a simple matter of undervaluation of the quantities of gold exported, but rather a case of pure smuggling of gold out of the country.”
The Chamber at the time disputed the veracity of the report and its conclusions – as did SARS and Statistics SA. The Chamber went further, and commissioned an independent inquiry by economic consultants Eunomix.
The final report is now available in full on the Chamber website.
Given the lack of rigour and unreliable methodologies used in UNCTAD’s report which the Chamber previously pointed out to the UN agency, the Chamber of Mines again calls on UNCTAD to withdraw this report and acknowledge its shortcomings.