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Issue 282 - 26 July 2014

DR Congo/Guinea: EITI compliant

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The Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea have both been admitted as full members of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) at an EITI board meeting in Mexico City. “I congratulate the DRC for becoming a full member of the EITI family. Despite all the challenges facing the country, the Congolese people have been working together to bring transparency and accountability to the management of their natural resources,” said EITI board chair Clare Short. DRC’s candidate status was temporarily suspended on 18 April 2013, following the publication of the 2010 EITI Report, which was found to not meet the EITI requirements. The country has since addressed the issues that led to its suspension, an EITI statement said.

DR Congo | Guinea
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The formation of rival governments in eastern and western Libya threatens to drag the country into a full-blown civil conflict even as oil sector activity has reached levels not seen for more than 12 months. The official government appointed by the recently elected House of Representatives and led by interim prime minister Abdullah Al-Thinni appears to command National Oil Corporation (NOC) and the main oil terminals and fields. However, its authority over the Central Bank of Libya is less certain, and its control over military forces, even those that support it, is negligible.

Libya
Issue 277 - 20 May 2014

Misinvoicing quantified by NGO

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A report from US-based advocacy group Global Financial Integrity (GFI) has highlighted how much money is siphoned out of African countries due to the practice of over or understating invoices. In its report, Hiding in Plain Sight, GFI analysed data on bilateral trade flows for 2002–11 from the United Nations’ Comtrade database to estimate misinvoicing for Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda. It found that Tanzania experienced the greatest annual average gross illicit flows with $1.87bn. Kenya is second with $1.51bn/yr, and Ghana’s figure of $1.44bn is also significant. Uganda had illicit outflows of $884m/yr, and Mozambique’s figure is $585m.

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The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Working Group on Bribery released its Phase 3 report on South Africa in mid-March. The report evaluates and makes recommendations on implementation and enforcement of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and related instruments. The OECD said it was “seriously concerned” by the lack of foreign bribery enforcement actions in South Africa. “Despite South Africa’s economic links to a number of countries with corruption risks, only ten foreign bribery allegations have surfaced since it became a party to the Convention in 2007,” the OECD said.

South Africa
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Bids were due by 15 May for a European Development Fund-financed programme to improve the corporate governance of power utility Zesco. Zesco has obtained European Investment Bank funding for two projects – upgrading the existing 220kV Kafue-Muzuma-Livingstone transmission line to 330 kV, and the Itezhi Tezhi hydro project and related transmission infrastructure. According to the tender notice: “Zesco has expressed its desire and commitment to strengthen good corporate governance and compliance procedures within the company.” The winning consultant will help the utility develop and implement a corporate governance framework.

Zambia
Free

The trial of former president Rupiah Banda, which opened in April, has been suspended until October. Banda was charged with abuse of office in connection with a Nigerian oil deal with the Abuja-based Sarb Energy (AE 253/26). Former energy minister Kenneth Kongo, who was testifying as a state witness, rejected claims that Banda personally benefitted from the deal.

Nigeria | Zambia
Issue 429 - 17 December 2020

US to require ownership disclosure

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In a major victory for transparency campaigners, the US Congress has passed a groundbreaking measure to ban anonymous shell companies by a veto-proof majority. The Corporate Transparency Act, which was tacked on to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, will oblige corporations and limited liability companies established in the United States to disclose their real owners to the US Treasury Department.

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The renewal of load-shedding, which looks likely to remain for some time despite continued suppressed demand has led to a cull of senior staff at Eskom’s generation division. The utility said on 4 September that there were 5GW of planned outages and 10.95GW unplanned, resulting in a 3GW deficit.

South Africa
Issue 419 - 09 July 2020

AfDB president under fire

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The African Development Bank board has named a three-member panel to review a report by the bank’s ethics committee into whistleblower allegations against bank president Akinwumi Adesina.The review was agreed after US Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and several other bank shareholders rejected the findings of the committee’s report and said the complaint warranted further examination.

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The US decision to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, announced on 19 October, should open the way for a multilateral debt deal and big new financial flows, but pressure to normalise relations with Israel will not play well with many Sudanese, adding to pressure on a transitional government struggling with severe economic pressures.

Sudan
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President Denis Sassou Nguesso’s debt-stressed administration has finally obtained a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) facility, worth nearly $449m, despite criticism that Brazzaville has not provided sufficient detail of parallel rescheduling deals for arrears contracted in pre-financing arrangements with China and Swiss-based oil trading houses, nor implemented previous commitments to control borrowing, spending and other policy shortfalls.

Issue 321 - 15 April 2016

Tanzania: MCC suspends programmes

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The US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has halted preparations for a second compact, planned to make $472.8m available for the power sector, citing concerns about elections in Zanzibar and about the country’s Cybercrimes Act.The government declared the October elections in the semi-autonomous archipelago invalid, saying there had been irregularities in the voting process.

Tanzania
Issue 327 - 08 July 2016

SEC finally issues disclosure rule

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The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released a rule requiring oil and mining companies publicly traded on US stock exchanges to disclose payments to the US and foreign governments. The rule will finally enact Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in 2010. The SEC introduced an implementing rule for Section 1504 in 2012, but this was set aside by a US district court in 2013 following a legal challenge by the American Petroleum Institute lobby group.

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Israeli diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz’s BSG Resources (BSGR) is preparing arbitration proceedings against the government of Guinea and President Alpha Condé, after Conakry revoked its licence for the Simandou iron ore deposit. BSGR said in a statement that it was initiating arbitration with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. Guinea stripped BSGR and its joint venture partner Vale of their rights to part of Simandou in April after a government committee concluded that BSGR had paid bribes. BSGR has denied any wrongdoing.

Guinea
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The government is seeking expressions of interest from consultants to draw up a communications strategy for the executive committee implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Congo Brazzaville