AREVA, the French nuclear energy giant that last month indefinitely postponed opening its uranium mine in the Namib Desert, paid about N$30 million to United Africa Group (UAG) shortly after the Namibian company had bought shares in Areva’s desalination plant.
Both companies have refused to explain the payment amid allegations in a South African newspaper, the Mail & Guardian, that UraMin (the company from which the French parastatal Areva bought Trekkopje in the Namib Desert) deliberately sought out political connections to advance its businesses, implicating Namibian political figures such as former Prime Minister Hage Geingob.
UraMin was listed in London. It was controlled by Stephen Dattels, who is also chairman of  Polo Resources, which is the biggest single shareholder in GCM Resources, of which he is a nonexecutive director.
Polo Resources’ 2007 sale to Areva of UraMin – listed on both the Toronto and AIM (London’s Alternative Investment Market) exchanges – has proved to be a  massive financial white elephant for the French nuclear giant. At the same time it brought much needed cash into the coffers of AIM-listed Polo, partly enabling Polo to build up its leading position in GCM Resources, as well as other mining companies. (See:
The following comment early this year by a reader of, who did a desktop review of Uramin while it was also in the fiefdom of Dattels and fellow Polo Resources MD, Neil Herbert – raises potentially important questions as to whether  Dattels and his cronies  “diddled” the potential value of UraMin  before selling it to Areva at such a stupendous loss to the French corporation. Mr Poniewierski qualifies his suggestion of fraud by saying it was “more likely absolute stupidity” on Areva’s part. Readers may wish to make up their own minds.