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Issue 312 - 19 November 2015

Buhari confirms Nigerian cabinet

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Seven months after his election victory, President Muhammadu Buhari has confirmed the members of his first cabinet with some familiar names holding important ministries, and the number of portfolios cut from 42 to 36. As widely expected, Buhari has retained direct control over the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and chosen the recently appointed general managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, as junior minister.

Nigeria
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President Muhammadu Buhari has been preoccupied with fighting Boko Haram. In line with his inaugural pledge to reform the armed forces, the chiefs of the army, air force and navy were sacked on 13 July. A seven-month offensive by the militaries of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad has notched up a number of successes against the Islamist insurgent group, marked by the retaking of significant amounts of territory and increasing speculation surrounding the fate of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who has not been heard from since March.

Nigeria
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Nigeria’s Malabu Oil & Gas has brought a case at Southwark Crown Court in London appealing against the freezing of $85m in proceeds from the OPL 245 deal. The funds were frozen last year at the request of the Italian prosecutor amid an investigation into corruption at Eni relating to the granting of the licence. Malabu, owned by former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete, is seeking the release of the funds, arguing that the Italian prosecutor was exceeding his powers in getting them frozen in the first place, and that nothing has happened with the Italian investigation to warrant their continued freezing.

Nigeria
Issue 304 - 11 July 2015

Zambia: Banda acquitted

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A Lusaka magistrates court on 30 June acquitted former president Rupiah Banda, who had been accused of personally benefiting from a $2.5m oil deal with Nigeria’s Sarb Energy. Magistrate Joshua Banda ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove its case, and called the prosecution’s evidence inconsistent and contradictory.

Zambia
Free

President Cyril Ramaphosa has won plaudits for his public determination to clean up South African governance, as underlined by his suspension of African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule. This clean-up has been supported by governance-focused civil society and media, and independent-minded members of the judiciary, but as African Energy’s South Africa power report pointed out, public confidence remains dangerously low after the ‘state capture’ years – and this negative environment is impacting across the economy.

South Africa
Issue 275 - 15 April 2014

ENI: Scaroni convicted

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Eni chief executive Paolo Scaroni has received a three-year jail sentence and a ban on holding public office for environmental violations at an Italian power plant while he was head of Enel. Scaroni denies wrongdoing and has said he will appeal. The court threw out a more serious charge of causing an environmental disaster, but ruled that the diesel-fired Porto Tolle plant had posed a risk. Franco Tato, another former Enel chief executive who denies the charges, was also found guilty, while Enel’s current chief executive Fulvio Conti and six other defendants were acquitted.

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As momentum builds behind transparency regulations in much of the world, a US court has backed a challenge by big oil companies and ordered revisions to new regulations issued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 
The US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on 2 July that the SEC must provide better justifications for some of the transparency regulations it issued under Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act. The court ruled that the SEC had misinterpreted Dodd-Frank when drawing up regulations that would have forced oil companies to disclose details of payments to governments.

Free

New prime minister Aminata Touré has named a cabinet, including Maîmouna Ndoye Seck, head of the electricity regulator, as energy minister. The appointment of veteran human rights advocate Sidiki Kaba as justice minister suggests the crackdown on high-profile corruption is set to remain a priority.

Senegal
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Foreign donors have warned the Tanzanian government that it must take stronger action in fighting public corruption and improving governance, especially in the energy, mining and health sectors. Swedish ambassador Lennarth Hjelmåker told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview in Dar es Salaam that “there has been stagnation in the fight against corruption, including a lack of movement on specific anti-corruption cases in key sectors like health, the port and energy”. Hjelmåker chairs a group of donors made up of the African Development Bank, Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Britain and the World Bank that have committed $560m in general budget support – 5% of the total budget – to Tanzania this year.

Tanzania
Issue 263 - 12 October 2013

Senegal/Cameroon: EITI update

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Senegal’s application for Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) candidate status was approved at the 17 October annual meeting in Abidjan. Senegal is now required to publish its first EITI report by 17 October 2015. At the same meeting, Cameroon was designated EITI compliant. EITI chair Clare Short said: “I congratulate Cameroon on fulfilling all the transparency requirements of the EITI movement. I hope that this will lead to a process of reform that brings real benefits to the people of Cameroon.” 


Cameroon | Senegal
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Transparency International’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer was released on 9 July. It included information on 95 countries, including 23 African countries. In the section ‘Percentage of people who report having paid a bribe to one of eight services’ (education, judicial, medical/health, police, registry and permit services, utilities, tax, land services) in the past 12 months, Sierra Leone performed the worst of the 95, with 84% of respondents saying they had.

Sierra Leone
Issue 265 - 08 November 2013

Somalia: Central bank governor resigns

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Central bank governor Yussur Abrar, the first woman to occupy the post, has resigned after only seven weeks in the job, citing corruption concerns. In a letter to Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, widely reported in the media, she said that, from the moment she was appointed, she had “continuously been asked to sanction deals and violate my fiduciary responsibility to the Somali people as head of the nation’s monetary authority”. She said the deals “put… frozen assets at risk and open the door to corruption”.

Somalia
Issue 284 - 12 September 2014

SNC-Lavalin: Riadh Ben Aissa plea deal

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Former SNC-Lavalin executive Riadh Ben Aissa in August signed a plea deal in Switzerland that could lead to his extradition to Canada, where the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have charges against him (AE 271/20, 253/25, 249/20). He is also facing charges for money laundering, fraud and corruption in Switzerland, where he has been held since his 2012 arrest. Ben Aissa is tied to some $160m in bribes paid to Saadi Qadhafi, son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi, in exchange for contracts. Ben Aissa is also alleged to have been part of a plan to smuggle Saadi out of Libya.

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Houston-based Cobalt International Energy has cut ties with its Angolan partners after the latest approach from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC issued Cobalt with a ‘Wells notice’ in early August in relation to its operations in Angola, where it holds interests in blocks 9, 20 and 21. The SEC sends a Wells notice to companies or individuals when it is planning to bring charges against them, but it is neither a formal allegation nor a finding of wrongdoing.

Angola
Issue 255 - 31 May 2013

Ethiopia: FEACC makes charges

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Ethiopia’s Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) has made its first charges following several recent arrests of Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA) officials and local businessmen. Kumlachew Yeshambel, a team leader at ERCA, was charged with taking 200,000 birr ($10,600) in bribes. The FEACC has asked for more time to investigate a batch of new detainees, including local architect Begziabhere Alebel. An estimated 50-60 people have now been detained on suspicion of corruption since the arrests began in early May. The most senior of those arrested is ERCA director-general Melaku Fenta, who has ministerial rank. The FEACC head has said that the arrests followed two years of surveillance, but some local analysts and specialist newsletters question whether the arrests are serious and whether figures such as Fenta are being used as scapegoats to protect powerful officials of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.

Ethiopia