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Vol 51 No 19

Published 24th September 2010

The bonus culture

Payments by oil and mineral companies to ensure that governments sign on the dotted line are not always what they seem

New or renewed deals to explore for or produce minerals must be licensed by governments. When deals are signed, companies expect to hand over a bonus or other upfront payment to show they are serious. Sometimes, such payments are legitimate contributions towards infrastructure or training programmes. Sometimes, they go into the coffers of a ruling party or the pockets of rulers. It is not always easy to tell which is which.

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