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Issue 309 - 09 October 2015

SEC, DoJ probe Kinross Gold

Subscriber

Kinross Gold Corporation has said it is under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Justice (DoJ) over its West Africa mining operations. The company said it had received SEC and DoJ subpoenas related to possible internal control deficiencies and improper payments to government officials.Toronto-based Kinross, which has mining operations in Mauritania and Ghana, said it first learned of the allegations in 2013 and launched an internal investigation. It subsequently received subpoenas from the SEC in March and December 2014, and July 2015, and from the DoJ in December 2014.

Issue 302 - 12 June 2015

Egypt: Bold sector reforms planned

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President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is reviewing a new electricity law which, if approved in its present form, will introduce further substantial reforms to the sector. Sector experts consulted by African Energy did not expect him to pass the law until after the summer peak demand period, as officials are unlikely to have the capacity to deal with the proposed changes before then. Among the main reforms envisaged by the law are the unbundling of grid operator Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) from its parent company Egyptian Electricity Holding Company, and making regulator EgyptERA responsible for setting electricity tariffs.

Egypt
Subscriber

With Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency marked by a lack of improvement to power supply, a push from the top is needed to clear blockages that have held up progress. Generation on 31 March stood at only 3,540MW, according to the Federal Ministry of Power. With peak demand recorded at 12,800MW, the sector suffered a shortfall of some 9,260MW.The declaration of the Transitional Electricity Market (TEM) in February was seen as key to unblocking the sector. However, industry sources doubt whether the TEM is being fully implemented.

Nigeria
Subscriber

At the time of publishing it was unclear whether the United Nations would persuade delegates from Tobruk’s House of Representatives (HoR) and Tripoli’s General National Congress (GNC), meeting in the Moroccan town of Skhirat, to sign a deal on a unity government. They were ready to do so on 16 December, but at a separate meeting in Malta, HoR speaker Ageela Gwaider and GNC speaker Nuri Abu Sahmain – normally arch-rivals – jointly called for a postponement, making clear that the delegates in Morocco did not represent the will of either assembly.

Libya
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The Brazzaville government is flagging the launch of a major licensing round in Cape Town next month, despite the lower oil price, but parliament still needs to approve a new hydrocarbons code. The new code, which updates the existing 1994 law, was approved by the cabinet in March. Based on a model production-sharing contract, it stipulates that state oil company Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo (SNPC) is the holder of the mining title in each case, with the right to bring in local and international partners.

Congo Brazzaville
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An initiative to bring local authorities, business and consumers together to develop the distributed supply of electricity to Cameroon’s many isolated communities was launched in Yaoundé on 10-13 March. The Invest’Elec initiative is supported by regulator Agence de Régulation du Secteur de l’Electricité (Arsel) and the European Union. They are seeking to establish a public-private partnership (PPP) model based on projects that use off-grid solutions to build integrated generation-distribution systems. The focus is on distributed mini-hydroelectric and biomass projects, seen as most appropriate to Cameroon’s resources base, and a few solar projects in the Far North region.

Cameroon
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Allegedly corrupt dealings with the former Libyan regime are continuing to cost implicated companies dear more than four years after the start of the February 2011 revolution. On 19 February, Canada’s SNC-Lavalin Group announced in a statement to investors that corruption and fraud charges levelled by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada were “without merit”. It said it would “vigorously defend itself and plead not guilty”. President and chief executive Robert Card said that “the charges stem from the same alleged activities of former employees from over three years ago in Libya, which are publicly known, and that the company has co-operated on with authorities since then”.

Libya
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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

Subscriber

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
Subscriber

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