Irregularities Uncovered at State-owned DRC Mining Company

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) — The anti-corruption agency of the Democratic Republic of Congo has identified numerous irregularities in the management of the state-owned mining company, Gecamines, which it says has caused the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The report covered the years 2010 to 2020 and was completed on May 31, according to the weekly Jeune Afrique which first published the findings.

Among the “irregularities” were a “lack of transparency in the signing of contracts”, “prejudices in the transfer of rights”, “failure to pay taxes due to the Treasury”, “presumption of embezzlement of public funds”, and “selling off of the real estate of the company.”

Further, the ‘Inspection Générale des Finances’ or “IGF” says it has not been able to trace more than $400 million out of a total of some $600 million in tax advances and loans to the state.

The mining company has pushed back with a report to debunk the allegations of corruption and missing millions. The 60-page report begins with an introduction from Albert Yuma-Mulimbi, a close ally of outgoing President Joseph Kabila and the chairman of the board for the state-owned mining giant in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Albert Yuma was ousted last December as head of the company by the government of Félix Tshisekedi. J. Peter Pham, a former US special envoy, welcomed the departure, hailing it as a “break” with the Kabila era.

Also in the anti-corruption report are allegations of “undue benefits” paid to executives and the “payment of exorbitant snacks”. “During the period under review, Gécamines generated 2 billion US dollars in own resources,” IGF boss Jules Alingete told AFP. However, he said, “1.5 billion was used to pay management bonuses and snacks”.

From 2012 to 2020, “Gécamines’ partners have achieved a global turnover estimated at $35 billion”, while the company “has only received $564 million in royalties from these partnerships, or 1.6%”.

The financial watchdog is also looking into the ‘minerals for infrastructure’ deal signed with China in 2008.

The IGF believes that there has been “no serious monitoring of the investments made by the Chinese partners and the income generated by the Sicomines joint venture”.

In May 2021, Félix Tshisekedi announced his intention to renegotiate the mining contracts, particularly those concluded with China by Joseph Kabila.

The DRC’s subsoil is rich in minerals, and the country is the world’s largest producer of cobalt and Africa’s largest producer of copper. [IDN-InDepthNews – 08 June 2022]

Image: Press coverage of DRC alleged corruption. Source: Global Information Network

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