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Allegations of transfer pricing against Lonmin

It is alleged Lonmin transferred money to Bermuda to avoid paying taxes.

FILE: It is alleged Lonmin transferred money to Bermuda to avoid building houses for miners.

JOHANNESBURG - There have been more calls for the South Africa Revenue Service (Sars) to investigate alleged transfer pricing by platinum giant Lonmin between 2008 and 2012.

This follows contradictions made by a company representative at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

Director of Western Platinum Sales Mohamed Seedat appeared to make several contradictions during cross examination last week, revealing that Lonmin had paid R1.2 billion to a company based in Bermuda.

The Alternative Information Development Centre (AIDC) has called on Sars to investigate because it says the role played by this company is unclear and the area is a known tax haven.

AIDC senior economist Dick Forslund says it appears the money was moved to Bermuda to avoid tax and make it seem as if Lonmin had no money to build houses for the mine workers.

"I don't care if it's legal or not. If you saturate the invoice into subsidising South Africa then you're undermining the labour market and labour relations."

The company's majority union the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) says it is willing to assist with any investigation into the so-called transfer pricing.

Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa says, "If there's any cooperation needed from us, yes we will do that. We don't see any problem with that."

Sars says it is unable to make any public comment while the Chamber of Mines has referred to the matter as a private company issue.

Lonmin has not yet been available to comment.