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Issue 254 - 17 May 2013

Equatorial Guinea: Libel ruling

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A French court in late April ruled that NGO the Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development did not libel President Teodoro Obiang Nguema in a 2009 report. The report, entitled ‘Biens mal acquis, à qui profite le crime?’ said that Obiang and ten family members had laundered about $26.5m in property deals via an account at Santander bank Madrid between 2000 and 2003. The latest court ruling follows a lower court decision that the report’s allegations were covered by the right to free speech.

Equatorial Guinea
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Wide-ranging reform of Angola’s power sector is making progress, but with the economy heavily dependent on oil revenues, investment plans could be significantly slowed. Angola-watchers suggest the effects on the domestic economy of sharply lower global oil prices, coupled with the continued uncertainty over veteran President José Eduardo dos Santos’ succession plans, may create a ‘perfect storm’ that could hasten the long-awaited regime change.

Angola
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With the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (Pida) framework endorsed by African leaders in 2012 returning the development focus to big dams, there is an increasing amount of research into how climate change may affect future water supply. Pida includes a Priority Action Plan which calls for an expansion of hydroelectric power generation capacity by more than 54GW. The listed priority projects, currently being designed on the basis of the historical climate, will jump to the head of the queue for donor funds and government approvals.

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London-based Independent Resources, which has assets in Tunisia and Egypt, has brought in three directors from ambitious Morocco player Sound Energy and plans to change its name to Echo Energy. Continental Investment Partners, which also has 10% in Sound, has taken a 29.9% share via its associate Greenberry plc. Sound chief executive James Parsons will join the company as non-executive chairman, while two other Sound directors, Marco Fumagalli and Stephen Whyte, will also join the board.

Issue 384 - 17 January 2019

Ghana: ECG handover planned for February

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The transfer of management of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to Power Distribution Services Ghana Ltd, which is owned by a consortium led by the Philippines’ Manila Electricity Company (Meralco), is expected to take place on 1 February, Millennium Development Authority (Mida) chief executive Martin Eson-Benjamin told a media briefing in Accra this month.Mida is responsible for implementing Ghana’s $469.3m compact with the US’ Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Ghana
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Former finance minister Basil Pesambili Mramba and energy and minerals minister Daniel Ndhira Yona were jailed for three years on 6 July for issuing illegal tax exemptions to an international company and also arbitrarily awarding a contract to audit gold, costing the government millions of dollars of lost revenues. Both politicians are from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party and issued the exemption certificates in the early 2000s. “The accused acted arbitrarily in granting tax exemptions to a gold audit firm, totally disregarding advice by taxation and legal authorities,” the court judgement read.

Tanzania
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Malawi is completing the sign-up steps to become an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) candidate and is expected to present an application to the EITI Board by 30 June. The EITI is part of the government’s commitment to develop the oil and mining sector in a manner that generates revenue to the state and benefits the citizens of Malawi.In a state of the nation speech to parliament on 5 May, President Peter Mutharika said: “In view of the commitment by government to enhance transparency in the mining sector, government will join the EITI to promote revenue transparency.

Malawi
Issue 268 - 20 December 2013

Mali: Corruption investigation

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In mid-December six judges and judicial officers were charged and taken into custody in an investigation into corruption. “In the context of the fight against corruption and financial crime triggered by the Malian government, six judges and judicial officers were charged with forgery, fraud and extortion,” a justice ministry official told the Agence France-Presse news agency. In late November, new President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta restated his commitment to tackling corruption and impunity. Before his election following a second round of voting in August, Keïta promised “zero tolerance” of corruption

Mali
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Following the 14 April arrest in Florida of a former BSG Resources (BSGR) associate, Frédéric Cilins, the Guinean authorities have detained Ibrahima Sory Touré, a senior manager in the company’s local unit. Cilins, who was involved in setting up the BSGR office in Guinea in the mid-2000s was charged with obstructing a criminal investigation, tampering with a witness and destruction of records.

Guinea
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The governments of Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to renegotiate the terms under which Juba exports its oil, according to officials from the two countries. Transit fees of almost $25/bbl, combined with the drop in the global oil price and the discount at which Dar Blend crude trades, meant that South Sudan faced selling its oil at a loss. Output dropped sharply, heralding a possible shutdown and requiring an urgent renegotiation of transit terms.

South Sudan
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The Office of the Ombudsman has said that the names of those convicted of embezzlement of public funds may soon be made public. The office already releases the names of those found guilty of low-level corruption – farmers, taxi drivers, local defence personnel – but is under pressure to reveal those found guilty of bigger crimes. 


Rwanda
Issue 349 - 30 June 2017

Tanzania: Arrests made over IPTL

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The heads of two companies involved in the Independent Power Tanzania Ltd (IPTL) power plant saga are jointly facing charges of economic sabotage, forgery, impersonation, running a criminal syndicate, obtaining money by false pretence, and causing loss of money to the government.Pan Africa Power Solutions chairman Harbinder Singh Sethi and VIP Engineering managing director James Rugemalira appeared in Kisutu Resident Magistrates’ Court in Dar es Salaam on 19 June to hear the charges

Tanzania
Issue 276 - 03 May 2014

Senegal: Karim Wade to face trial

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Karim Wade, son of former president Abdoulaye Wade, is to go on trial in June on charges of corruption. Karim, a former minister for international co-operation, infrastructure, air transport and energy, was accused in 2013 of amassing a personal fortune of some $1.4bn, accumulated while his father was in office between 2000 and 2012. He has been in prison on remand for over a year. Abdoulaye Wade, who went into self-imposed exile after his 2012 election defeat, arrived in Senegal on 25 April after two years in Versailles, to show support for his son, and to campaign in upcoming local elections on behalf of his Parti Démocratique Sénégalais.

Senegal
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Having suddenly declared force majeure in Guinea, nearly six months after the US Department of Justice launched a corruption probe into its partner Hyperdynamics, Tullow is playing up its transparency credentials. Its annual report published on 24 March includes project-by-project reporting of payments, making it the first oil company to disclose such detail in every country in which it operates. The significance of this is huge. The American Petroleum Institute (API) in September 2012 sued the US Securities and Exchange Commission in an attempt to avoid disclosing project-level payments, and API members are lobbying against tougher reporting standards in the EU and elsewhere.

Guinea
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Emboldened by President Donald Trump’s election win, Republican lawmakers have started the process of dismantling the bipartisan Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption rule, which requires oil, gas and mining companies publicly listed in the US to publish their payments to governments in countries where they operate. The rule became law in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, but its implementation was held up by legal challenges and it was released by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) only in June 2016 after Oxfam America sued to speed the process up.