Wednesday, 23 May 2007

World Bank watch dogs sit and watch the wheels of corruption turn

Enter the competition at the end of this blog entry!

On 23rd December 2000, the secret police of the corrupt Communist Laos Government kidnapped Kerry Danes and took him to an undisclosed location in the nation's capital. Under Australian Embassy instructions, Kay Danes attempted to leave Laos with the couple's two youngest children, only to be intercepted at the Thai border.

Kerry and Kay Danes were former executive employees to one of Britains leading Security companies - Jardine Securicor. Kerry Danes, a highly decorated SAS soldier, was appointed Managing Director of Lao Securicor in 1999, a start up Security Company of the UK giant operating in the communist landlocked country of Laos.

Kerry and Kay Danes were centred in a dispute between their client, Gem Mining Laos, a US$2 billion dollar sapphire concession and the Laos Government. Despite intense interrogations, the Danes refused to make false statements that would otherwise implicate Gem Mining in unlawful activity, and result in its nationalisation. As a result, the Danes were detained in a prison of exceptionally primitive, squalid conditions in rural Laos for almost a year. They endured torture and ill-treatment. Their government deemed them hostages.

The Australian Ambassador to Laos, H.E. Jonathan Thwaites added “Let’s be clear about the Danes, the Australian Government will not let this matter rest until we have what we want, the Danes release. They are innocent. They have been caught up in power plays.”

Gem Mining Lao suffered mass destruction at the hands of the Laos Government, wilful destruction of property and blatant disregard for the assets and integrity of Foreign Investors. The illegal nationalisation of one of the world’s richest sapphire deposits almost brought the tiny landlocked country to its knees. Gem Mining Lao Directors were sentenced 20 years in absentia and fined US$30 million dollars by the Laos government for allegedly stealing their own assets.

Kerry and Kay Danes suffered immense injustices and trauma that tested their resolve both professionally as security managers, and emotionally, as husband and wife. Their story became one of the highest profiled cases in Australia at the time, featuring on every news channel until their release on November 9, 2001. Their plight highlighted the deceit of a country that pledged itself to upholding United Nations mandates and laws that were supposed to protect foreigners and investors but failed.

Now, six years on, Kerry and Kay Danes are once again enduring public humiliation at the hands of the Laos Government that is using their unlawful conviction as a smoke screen to its continued underhandedness. In a country steeped in corruption, the illegally nationalised Gem Mining Laos concession is being floated to the international market, at far less a price [US$5 million dollars] then what it was reportedly worth [US$2 billion]. Smell a rat?

The wheel has once again come full circle and one has to wonder how many more foreign investors will suffer at the hands of this regime? Where is the accountability from the so called watch dogs of corruption, the World Bank and the International community in Laos, who are fully privy to evidence supplied to them of torture of foreigners and investors caught in the snare of greedy Laotian officials! - Kay Danes, author of Nightmare in Laos.

Laos Government float GML to foreign market

Lao Securicor Security Audit Report [Shows mass destruction of Gem Mining]

Congratulations to the winner of our previous competition, Karen Araujo from Canada!


Anonymous said...

This was an amazing book that I read in two nights. What a courageous couple! I was so inspired. They should make this book into a movie!

Helen Hirst said...

I know Kay Danes personally, and I have read her compelling book."Nightmare in Laos" You live each day with her and Kerry as if you were there,(only you are not, and you can only imagine the pain) from the beginning to the end of the Nightmare that both Kay and Kerry Danes suffered. Not to mention their children who were without their parents for almost a year.

Helen Hirst