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Issue 287 - 27 October 2014

Chad: EITI compliant


Chad has been accepted as a full member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) at an EITI board meeting in Myanmar on 15 October. An EITI statement said the country was deemed ‘compliant’ with the global EITI transparency standard, which means Chadians have access to extensive information about how their natural resources are governed.“Thanks to the EITI, some major reforms have been engaged when it comes to follow-up of revenue collection and payments from the extractive industries. Implementing the EITI has allowed us to realise that we do not have an adequate system for tracking these revenues.


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.

Issue 276 - 03 May 2014

Senegal: Karim Wade to face trial


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.


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.


The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) notified Hyperdynamics on 24 April that the company had fallen below its continued listing standards. The Houston-based company’s average global market capitalisation had been less than $50m over a consecutive 30 trading-day period and its stockholders’ equity is less than $50m. The company moved to the main NYSE from the NYSE Amex exchange in July 2011 after Ray Leonard took over as president and chief executive (AE 213/15), but shareholder enthusiasm has evaporated.


Tanzania’s Auditor General has criticised the procurement of a major contractor at the Rusumo Falls, blaming the World Bank Group for the deviation.

Rwanda | Tanzania | Burundi
Issue 309 - 09 October 2015

Algeria: Saipem case advances


An Italian court will try six defendants in December on charges related to Saipem’s payment of €198m in bribes to secure approximately €8bn worth of contacts in Algeria. The most significant among the accused is the alleged go-between in the affair, Farid Bedjaoui, for whom Interpol has issued a red notice saying that he is wanted for “criminal associations leading to corruption”. He will be tried in absentia with two other Algerians. Three Italian senior Saipem executives will be in the dock, but the company’s country manager at the time will not, as he has struck a deal with prosecutors.

Issue 448 - 24 October 2021

Zesco’s debt balloons to $3.5bn


State utility Zesco’s debts have reached $3.5bn – $1bn more than previously thought – due to a combination of rising liabilities to independent power producers (IPPs), long-running disputes with mining firms and the depreciation of the local currency, according to energy minister Peter Kapala.


The trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) of Kenyan deputy president William Ruto was adjourned for a week on 23 September after Ruto asked for a suspension to enable him to return to Nairobi to handle the aftermath of an attack on the city’s Westgate shopping mall. Ruto went on trial on 10 September along with radio presenter Joshua arap Sang, charged with crimes against humanity in relation to their alleged role in co-ordinating the violence that swept Kenya in the aftermath of the country’s contested 2007 elections.

Issue 265 - 11 November 2013

Weatherford: $250m settlement


Oil services company Weatherford International said on 4 November that it hoped to finalise a settlement for some $250m with the US government for violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Iraq oil-for-food programme, and trading with sanctioned countries. The sanction settlement alone is expected to cost $100m, and Weatherford is awaiting approval from the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Weatherford first disclosed an overseas bribery investigation in 2007. The investigation later expanded to include potential violations of the Iraq oil-for-food programme and possible illegal trade with Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria.


The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on 13 April charged the managing director of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) with orchestrating a bribery scheme to help a client win a power plant contract in Ghana. The SEC alleges that US-Ghanaian citizen Asante Berko – a former Goldman Sachs employee who was appointed TOR managing director in January 2020 – violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by arranging for his firm’s client, a Turkish energy company, to funnel at least $2.5m to a Ghana- based intermediary to bribe government officials in order to win an electrical power plant project.

Issue 411 - 12 March 2020

Troubled Tullow cuts costs


Tullow Oil has slashed 2020 spending and announced plans to cut its workforce by a third as it reported a 2019 loss of $1.69bn, compared to an $85m profit in 2018. Already under pressure due to lower than anticipated production in Ghana and delays in farming down part of its stake in Uganda, the company has been hard hit by the sharp drop in the oil price in recent days.


President Abdelaziz Bouteflika may be gone, but demonstrators continue to call for radical change to a system dominated by ‘deep state’ players, including a genuine crackdown on corruption. Senior establishment figures are trying to persuade the popular ‘Hirak’ street protest movement that the system can reform itself, with assurances that recent scandals such as the Kamel El-Bouchi cocaine affair and older cases including the collapse of Khalifa Bank should be revisited.


French investigators on 25 April charged industrialist Vincent Bolloré and two colleagues as part of an investigation into suspected bribery of foreign officials in Guinea and Togo. Prosecutors are investigating whether Bolloré’s Havas communications business helped African leaders win power in return for contracts for Bolloré Group to operate ports. Bolloré Group said in a statement that a subsidiary was under investigation “regarding the payment of provisions for communication services in Guinea and Togo that were provided in 2009 and 2010”.


The much-anticipated partial float of the naira, introduced from 20 June, reflected a concession by President Muhammadu Buhari, who had resisted devaluation as he did during his first stint as president in the 1980s. Buhari was forced by deteriorating economic conditions and declining confidence to listen to markets. African Energy hears that concerns over the naira and other issues have led to the World Bank Group, a key guarantor of the liberalised generation and distribution system, making quiet threats to stop guarantees.