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The governments of Tanzania and Uganda, the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) and Total E&P Uganda signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 12 October creating a working framework for the potential development of a crude export pipeline from Hoima to Tanga port.

Uganda | Tanzania
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Norway’s Spectrum ASA has announced an agreement to acquire 28,000km of long offset 2D seismic data offshore southern Somalia. Spectrum’s survey will cover areas licensed to Pecten, a joint venture of Shell and ExxonMobil, which have been under force majeure since 1992. It will also manage and market 20,000km of 2D data gathered and processed by Soma Oil & Gas in 2014, which it says the survey is designed to complement. Soma – a UK company chaired by former Conservative party leader Lord (Michael) Howard – is giving the results of its survey to the federal government in return for the right to pre-emptively choose 12 blocks.

Somalia
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The New York-based Revenue Watch Institute has given a positive assessment of Ghana’s Stabilisation Fund and Heritage Fund, saying they met 13 of 16 good governance fundamentals. The two funds, established under the Petroleum Revenue Management Act of March 2011, were described as featuring” clear deposit, withdrawal and investment rules, effective oversight, and other essential attributes of good governance”. The government published a reconciliation report in March this year detailing the sums passing through the Petroleum Holding Fund, from where oil money is allocated to Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, the annual budget, and the two petroleum funds.

Ghana
Issue 284 - 12 September 2014

SBM: $240m provision

Free

Netherlands-based oil services company SBM Offshore in August included a $240m provision in its H1 14 financial statement, in anticipation of a potential settlement for improper sales practices. In April, the company released the findings of an internal investigation into its use of agents which found that SBM paid some $200m in commission to agents during the 2007-11 period, including $18.8m to Equatorial Guinea and $22.7m to Angola. SBM disclosed its findings with the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the US Department of Justice and is discussing potential settlement options.

Free

The Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) is drafting a new regulation that will enable it to investigate corruption claims involving the private sector, according to a late May report on Ethiopian news site capitalethiopia.com. Ethiopia’s decade-old corruption law does not allow FEACC to look into private sector corruption claims, limiting it to corruption in state-owned organisations. FEACC recently arrested several Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority officials and local businessmen.

Ethiopia
Issue 267 - 05 December 2013

Corporate: Asset recovery highlighted

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An extensive World Bank study, Left out of the Bargain - Settlements in Foreign Bribery Cases and Implications for Asset Recovery, has found that from1999-mid 2012 395 enforcement settlements for corruption took place, raising $6.9bn. But just 3.3% ($197m) was returned to the countries where the crime took place. The report highlights the tricky issue of how international anti-corruption enforcement can best repatriate. tainted assets and proceeds to the victim countries in line with Chapter 5 of United Nations Convention against Corruption. The study also notes some cases where companies have been told to pay fines to the countries concerned but have failed to do so – for example construction firm Mabey & Johnson, which was caught paying bribes to Iraqi officials in Ghana and Jamaica.

Ghana
Issue 268 - 20 December 2013

Tanzania: No names in Swiss scandal

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Kigoma North MP Zitto Kabwe has told an investigative committee headed by attorney-general Fredrick Werema that he does not have the names of five individuals accused of stashing over $190m in Swiss banks. Kabwe, an MP for the opposition Chadema Party that campaigns on an anti-corruption platform, previously claimed in parliament that large sums of taxpayers’ money were held in accounts in Switzerland and the Channel Islands, but that the government was not willing to recover the cash. The ‘Swiss Billions’ scandal has been much discussed in Tanzania since June 2012, when a Swiss National Bank report said the country held $196m of Tanzanian money in its accounts.

Tanzania
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Botswana has come out as the most transparent in Africa in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2013, placing 30th out of 175 countries. This delighted the government, which said it was down to the country’s “zero tolerance” approach and the establishment of oversight institutions: the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime, the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board and the Competition Authority and the Financial Intelligence Agency. Cape Verde was ranked 41st, Seychelles 47th, Rwanda 49th and Mauritius 52nd. Somalia came bottom, and deputy finance minister Ahmed Hassan Adan reacted angrily, saying the report was not trustworthy. “We want to see any evidence to these allegations.

Botswana
Issue 271 - 17 February 2014

Wider enforcement of the Bribery Act

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UK Serious Fraud Office director David Green has proposed an amendment to the Bribery Act that would expand the law’s coverage and lead to the possible blacklisting of companies. His proposal would widen the Bribery Act’s ‘failure to prevent bribery’ language to include a failure to prevent all acts of financial crime. Companies and banks could be barred from participating in public contracts across the European Union. International financial institutions have successfully used blacklisting for companies found guilty of corruption – the World Bank in the 12 months to August 2013 debarred 307 entities ranging from major multinationals (for example SNC-Lavalin in April 2013 for ten years) to smaller firms and individual consultants.

Issue 255 - 31 May 2013

Liberia: Assets verification

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The Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) in late May said that several government officials had refused to co-operate with its recent phase of the Assets Declaration Verification Exercise. LACC chairwoman Frances Johnson-Allison told a 21 May news conference on the release of its report into the first phase of the exercise that 18 government officials had failed to co-operate, despite receiving “multiple notices” from the commission.

Liberia
Subscriber

Switzerland’s Federal Council on 22 May opened a consultation procedure (due to end 12 September 2013) on the preliminary draft of the Federal Act on the Freezing and Restitution of Assets of Politically Exposed Persons obtained by Unlawful Means. The new law would allow Switzerland to freeze the assets of politically exposed persons (PEPs) and would set up a framework to confiscate and return assets to the countries from which they were taken.

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Houston-based oil services company Parker Drilling agreed in mid-April to pay the US authorities $15.9m to settle foreign bribery charges. The company was accused of making a payment to a third party while knowing that it would be used to influence a Nigerian government panel’s decision on whether the company had broken local customs laws.

Nigeria
Free

The government launched an anti-corruption initiative in late April backed by the country’s inspector general, Hassan Sultan. “From the public procurement process to electoral reform and international co-operation, corruption can have a negative impact on a wide range of important functions of the state, and it is our responsibility to eradicate it wherever it is found,” he said. The launch came a few days before Sultan travelled to London for the UK-Djibouti Trade and Investment Forum.

Djibouti
Subscriber

Canada’s troubled SNC-Lavalin has been hit with a Standard & Poor’s (S&P) downgrade as the ratings agency warned of the risk of weaker profit in the wake of corruption scandals surrounding the firm’s operations in Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Bangladesh. S&P cut its ratings from BBB+ to BBB with negative outlook.

Subscriber

Anti-corruption campaigners including the London-based NGO Corruption Watch and Angola’s Associação Mãos Livres, have called on the Swiss government to reopen an investigation into a 1990s debt repayment deal between Angola and Russia. Corruption Watch, run by the former African National Congress MP Andrew Feinstein, released a 166-page report, ‘Deception in High Places: The Corrupt Angola-Russia Debt Deal’, on 16 April detailing how more than $700m ended up in private hands following a mid-1990s restructuring of Angolan debt to Russia. The report was presented in the European Parliament on 23 April as an example of the plundering that can take place in developing nations with the complicity of European banks and tax havens.

Angola