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The 13-16 July third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) in Addis Ababa was a critical step towards ending poverty and achieving universal food security, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said, while European Investment Bank president Werner Hoyer said it contributed toward a renewed architecture for sustainable development.FfD3 committed to a social compact to protect vulnerable populations, with national targets for spending on education, health and other essential services. It recommitted developed economies to spend 0.7% of GNP on aid.

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced a settlement with Japan’s Hitachi over its involvement with African National Congress front company Chancellor House and the 4,764MW Medupi coal power plant in South Africa. The settlement comprises an undisclosed payment to the AfDB, and conditional debarment of up to one year.

South Africa
Issue 297 - 27 March 2015

Afren calls in Serious Fraud Office

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Afren says it has passed information to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) after an investigation uncovered new concerns over expenses payments. In a statement released late on Friday 20 March, Afren said reporting the concerns was a condition for the provision of interim funding from bondholders to keep the indebted company afloat. The concerns arise from an investigation by Willkie, Farr & Gallagher (WFG) regarding the hire of an individual in 2012, and the payment of travel and accommodation expenses connected to Afren’s activities, the company said.

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On a wave of optimism about its offshore Rovuma Basin reserves, Mozambique has emerged as a poster boy for the ‘Africa rising’ agenda. With at least 100tcf of conventional gas reserves – and potentially more than double that amount, according to a range of project sources – this global-scale resource should drive the emergence of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry and substantial domestic and regional electricity supply in the next decade. Mozambique enthusiasts add that the country enjoys several other advantages, including proximity to markets and relatively streamlined decision-making (especially when compared to its potential rival for LNG export markets, neighbouring Tanzania).

Mozambique
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The Cyrenaica-based government of Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni is continuing efforts to establish its own oil sales in the international market, and to prevent buyers from engaging with the Tripoli-based management of National Oil Corporation (NOC). However, despite optimistic claims in early November that the eastern NOC had succeeded in closing a sale, and that a tanker to lift the crude was two days’ sailing from the Marsa Al-Harigah terminal, it has so far failed to overcome resistance from the international community and internal political barriers to achieving this ambition.

Libya
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The parastatal Central Electricity Board (CEB) issued two tenders on 18 March, requesting bidders for a total 140MW of solar PV and storage and 40MW of small renewable energy (RE) hybrid projects. The tenders come less than a month after CEB renewable energy and strategic projects manager Chavan Dabeedin was arrested on a charge of bribery of a public official in relation to the ‘Saint Louisgate’ scandal.

Mauritius
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Climate change denier Donald Trump’s 8 November election victory stunned the COP22 meeting in Marrakech, before the other 196 governments responded with defiant statements supporting the Paris Agreement. Tackling climate change and energy poverty has been central to Barack Obama’s presidency; his championing of COP was underlined by secretary of state John Kerry’s robust appearance in Marrakech; the Power Africa initiative is supported by the Electrify Africa Act, which puts sub-Saharan economies’ lack of energy access onto the US statute book.

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Hyperdynamics Corporation said on 12 March that Tullow Oil had declared force majeure over its Guinea acreage. The announcement followed a guilty plea by French national Frédéric Cilins to obstructing a US criminal investigation in connection with a bribery probe into how Beny Steinmetz’s BSG Resources (BSGR) acquired mining rights in Guinea.On 30 September, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) issued a subpoena asking Hyperdynamics, the original licence holder, to produce documents relating to its business in Guinea. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a similar subpoena in January this year.

Guinea
Issue 284 - 12 September 2014

Nigeria: Afren probe widens

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London-based Afren has suspended two more directors as part of an investigation into the receipt of unauthorised payments. The company suspended Iain Wright and Galib Virani on 28 August after finding that they had received payments linked to the previously identified transactions for the benefit of chief executive Osman Shahenshah and chief operating officer Shahid Ullah, who were suspended on 31 July. The payments were not made by Afren, the company said.In a note to its H1 accounts, Afren said the board had engaged lawyers Willkie Farr & Gallagher (WFG) to conduct an independent review into three transactions between Afren and its partners in 2012 and 2013.

Nigeria
Issue 272 - 03 March 2014

Tullow to report more payments detail

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Tullow Oil has announced that it plans to report payments for individual projects, not just on a country by country basis. “Tullow took an industry leading position in 2012 by declaring all of our payments to government and in 2013 when we bring out, we’re going to enhance that disclosure further by reporting on a project by project basis,” Tullow chairman Simon Thompson told a discussion entitled East Africa’s Oil and Gas Boom: Promise and Peril, organised by the Brookings Institution and Oxfam America on 20 February.

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A 4 September report by anti-corruption campaigner Global Witness has repeated claims of misconduct by Soco International and its contractors in their quest to explore in the Virunga national park. The report, based in part on material gathered for the documentary Virunga, released earlier this year, claims that “Soco and its contractors have made illicit payments, appear to have paid off armed rebels and benefited from fear and violence fostered by government security forces in eastern Congo, as they sought access to Africa’s oldest national park for oil exploration”.

DR Congo
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Global Witness has called on Italy’s Eni to explain incoming chief executive Claudio Descalzi’s apparent personal involvement in a corrupt oil deal in Nigeria. Descalzi is credited with heading Eni’s E&P division when it discovered huge gas resources offshore Mozambique, and will replace Paolo Scaroni, who has had three terms as Eni’s head (AE 276/19). According to Global Witness, police investigations in Italy and the UK into how Nigeria’s OPL 245 was awarded to Eni and Shell show that Eni officials led by Descalzi were centrally involved in negotiations with former Nigerian oil minister Chief Dan Etete. Etete is believed to have been one of the deal’s main beneficiaries.

Nigeria
Issue 277 - 20 May 2014

Nigeria: PwC to audit NNPC

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Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has started work with the federal auditor-general to carry out an audit on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over an alleged missing $20bn in oil revenues. Speaking at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Abuja on 8 May, finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the work, which began the previous week, should be completed within 16 weeks. “Our feeling is that the only way is to have a forensic audit that would let Nigerians know the truth about the issue,” she said.

Nigeria
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Parliament has passed a bill that aims to make the management of oil revenues more transparent, more than two years after the first oil sales from the newly independent country in July 2011. The Oil Revenue Management Bill, which was approved by parliament in July, must now be approved by the president in order to become law. The bill establishes a framework for how the government can use its oil revenues, which in H2 2011 accounted for 98% of government spending. Under the bill, a single Petroleum Revenue Account will be created to receive all oil sector revenues.

South Sudan
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The audit, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, was contracted following revelations of the so-called “cashgate” scandal that caused President Joyce Banda to sack her cabinet in October and led to the suspension of $150m of aid by major donors, including the UK and European Union. The first three of some 70 people who have been charged appeared in court in late January. The scandal has dealt a substantial blow to Banda, who had sought to depict herself as a “new broom” sweeping out the corruption and poor governance of her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika.

Malawi