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Published 8th October 2009

Vol 50 No 20


Congo-Kinshasa

Mines, dollars and dams

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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A decade after the fall of Mobutu Sese Seko, the Kinshasa government is still plagued by grand corruption and its reform efforts look hollow

Several inconvenient facts are undermining President Joseph Kabila's ambitious 'zero tolerance' anti-corruption campaign. Recent reports highlight the failure of efforts to reform Congo's state and the continuing pillage of its mining industry by local and foreign interests. On 26 September, the Senate published a 122-page report on mismanagement in the mining business. Congo made just US$92 million from this key industry in 2008 but lost some $450 mn. through under-invoicing, tax evasion, smuggling, fraudulent contracts and poor accounting.


Dam intrigues

Congo-Kinshasa's government has for ten years made no progress towards building a new dam to replace the underused hydropower stations at Inga on the Congo River. The existing Inga...


Congo-Kinshasa's big five mines

Tenke Fungurume Mining: The world's largest, publicly-traded copper miner, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., and Lundin Mining Corporation control the fabled Tenke and Fungu...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The successful prosecution of Britain’s Mabey & Johnson for corrupt payments and overpricing in Angola, Ghana, Madagascar and Mozambique appears to have emboldened London’s Serious Fraud Office. Within days of the conclusion of the case under a plea bargain in which the company’s management paid some £6.5 million (US$10.5 mn.) in fines and made full disclosure of its payments, the SFO said it would use the same tactics against BAE Systems, Britain’s largest arms manufacturer. The stakes are m...
The successful prosecution of Britain’s Mabey & Johnson for corrupt payments and overpricing in Angola, Ghana, Madagascar and Mozambique appears to have emboldened London’s Serious Fraud Office. Within days of the conclusion of the case under a plea bargain in which the company’s management paid some £6.5 million (US$10.5 mn.) in fines and made full disclosure of its payments, the SFO said it would use the same tactics against BAE Systems, Britain’s largest arms manufacturer. The stakes are much higher for BAE, which faces investigations on corrupt payments and contract overpricing in South Africa, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic, Qatar and Chile. If the SFO had secured a plea bargaining deal with BAE in those cases, BAE would be liable for hundreds of millions of pounds in fines. Instead, it refuses to negotiate with the SFO, perhaps calculating that as one of Britain’s biggest companies it can rely on protection from Whitehall. In 2006, Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened to stop the SFO’s investigation into BAE’s £43 bn. Al Yamamah contract with Saudi Arabia. Now the SFO will bring charges against BAE, which may be helped by pressure from its foreign clients on Whitehall to stop the cases. An associate of South Africa’s former President Thabo Mbeki, who presided over the BAE deal, told Africa Confidential that ‘under present conditions I don’t think the British government will be very keen to destroy one of their country’s most profitable companies.’
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