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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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The amount of oil that can be recovered from fields in western Uganda has emerged as a key issue in negotiations on production licences between the government, Tullow Oil and Total. Minister of energy and mineral development Irene Muloni told the East African Petroleum Conference in Kigali on 4 March that, of 6.5bn barrels of oil in place, the companies were proposing to recover only 1.4bn. Ministry permanent secretary Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa told reporters the government was looking for a recovery factor of at least 25%. He said he hoped the talks would be concluded within three months.

Uganda
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Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan announced on 24 May that Phakamani Hadebe has been confirmed as Eskom chief executive. Hadebe had been in the temporary position since February, managing the utility’s critical financial situation and overseeing the drive to clean up governance. “Hadebe has experience at the Land Bank and Treasury, he had a stint at banking institution Absa, he is competent to steer Eskom and stabilise the institution and position it for its role in the economy,” Gordhan said.

South Africa
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The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) has launched a new five-year strategy with the goal of building on a governance restructuring carried out in early 2018. PIDG is one of the most active development finance institutions working in challenging countries and with new technologies and business models. Implementation of the strategy will be bolstered by additional commitments announced last year of £500m ($655m) from the UK and $100m from the Netherlands over a four-year period.

Issue 327 - 08 July 2016

Luanda turns down IMF funding

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Angola has opted not to pursue an extended fund facility (EFF) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that would have offered significant funding alongside tough conditionality, and will instead seek only technical assistance. “The president of the republic has informed the IMF of the government’s decision to continue their policy dialogue with the fund only within the context of the Article IV consultation and not through discussion concerning an EFF supported programme,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told a news briefing in Washington on 28 June.

Angola
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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
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South Africa’s Protection of State Information Bill, which was passed by a majority vote in parliament in late April and is now before President Jacob Zuma for signing, has been criticised by a number of bodies, including the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), the Right2Know campaign and the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

South Africa
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Angola has moved in recent weeks to take concrete legal action against the children of former president José Eduardo dos Santos over longstanding corruption allegations. José Filomeno dos Santos went on trial in December, accused of taking $500m out of the country in 2017 during his time as head of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, while at the end of December, a Luanda court ordered the freezing of Isabel dos Santos’ Angolan bank accounts and shares in state companies, as well as the assets of her Congolese art collector husband, Sindika Dokolo.

Angola
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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
Free

Liberian farmers, charcoal producers and workers have filed a complaint with the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic), accusing it of failing to monitor investments made to a failed biomass project. Between 2009 and 2011, Buchanan Renewables (BR) received $216.7m from Opic for a project to harvest rubber trees for biomass, rejuvenate family farms and generate sustainable energy for Liberia. Opic’s investment covered 70% of the costs of the project, which aimed to convert old rubber trees from the former Firestone plantation to woodchip. The woodchips were intended to fuel a 36MW biomass power plant in Monrovia and be sold for export.

Liberia
Free

President Idriss Déby Itno has attempted to get tough with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) over environmental violations at the Ronier field. This minor development is significant because of increased international interest in the Chadian upstream, with new companies taking acreage in the hope of finding successful rift basin plays, and for what it says about N’Djaména’s relationship with its biggest investor. The government halted CNPC’s operations in August after finding waste crude stored in open pits. However, it lifted the suspension in October after CNPC promised to literally clean up its act.

Chad
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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
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As usual, there was no explanation from Luanda of President José Eduardo dos Santos’ partial government reshuffle on 5 October, which reorganised key economic departments and the senior ranks of the military.

Angola
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
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The warlord Khalifa Haftar’s comprehensive blockade of oil export terminals in eastern and western Libya is an attempt to force his drawn-out siege of Tripoli into an endgame. His price for lifting the blockade is the replacement of both National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman Mustafa Sanalla and Central Bank of Libya (CBL) governor Sadiq Al-Kabir. He also wants a greater share of oil revenues. Acceding to these demands would hand Haftar control of the two institutions that control the country’s resources and its money.

Libya