News / Africa

DRC Probes $88M in Missing Mining Revenue

Processing facilities at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine in the DRC's copper-producing south. Government officials are trying to trace millions in missing revenue that mining companies paid to a Congolese tax agency.
Processing facilities at Tenke Fungurume, a copper and cobalt mine in the DRC's copper-producing south. Government officials are trying to trace millions in missing revenue that mining companies paid to a Congolese tax agency.
Nick Long
Anti-corruption investigators in the Democratic Republic of Congo say they can't trace more than $88 million that mining companies paid to a government revenue agency.  
   
The investigation has been carried out by the Congolese branch of a global anti-corruption watchdog, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
 
EITI’s Congolese experts say they've been trying for six months to trace $88 million that mining companies paid to a Congolese tax agency called the DGRAD. They say the DGRAD has still not provided any proof that the money was paid to the national treasury.
 
The DRC planning minister has promised a judicial enquiry.
 
The $88 million gap in the public accounts, coupled with smaller amounts that have also gone missing, could mean that the DRC’s bid for full membership of the EITI is suspended. That could make it more difficult for the DRC to obtain loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which last year suspended a $225-million program with Congo, citing lack of transparency in the mining sector.
 
The EITI secretariat, which is based in Europe, says that since last year the DRC’s new government, led by Prime Minister Matata Ponyo, has been working closely with the EITI and is trying hard to account for revenues and to expose mining contracts to public scrutiny.
 
"We indeed understand that the prime minister’s government is very supportive of the EITI," said Tim Bittinger, a spokesperson for the EITI. "The government has put a substantial budget at the disposal of the EITI process, and there have been several government-led meetings on how to reform the mining and oil sectors and the EITI has figured prominently in reform discussions."
 
Bittinger noted that Prime Minister Ponyo has asked EITI to extend the scope of its investigations and to look at how revenues from the mining sector are spent, as well as how they are collected.
 
He said this demonstrates a political will to reform the sector, which was already evident even before the IMF suspended its Congo program.

The EITI board will have to make a decision this week on whether or not to declare the DRC an EITI compliant country, a test the country has already failed twice.  But Bittinger suggested that whatever decision is made, the DRC’s reform drive in the mining sector is likely to continue.
 
"Whatever happens at that level we see substantial momentum and drive in DRC," he said. "We are not sure a decision either way will stop that drive which is quite impressive, and we very much welcome the improvements we have seen over the past years."
 
That view is echoed by Elizabeth Caessens, an independent expert on mining and governance in the DRC. Caessens, who works for the U.S.-based Carter Center, wrote recently that the DRC government has made substantial efforts to disclose information on its mining sector.
 
She said there are doubts about one particular mining deal in which a state-owned concession may have been sold for $60-million less than its real value, but that many other deals have been exposed to scrutiny with the publication recently of more than 100 contracts.
 
Those contracts include some large deals with Chinese mining companies that were previously kept out of the public eye.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: David from: Washington DC
April 17, 2013 5:06 PM
DRC's Government should deal with engineering and construction companies.

by: Bertin MM from: Cape Town, SA
April 16, 2013 11:50 AM
The Mining sector in the DRC needs a clear reform and a change in the central government in order to have transparency in all the mines in that country. So many contracts are signed in abstracts. There is need for reform, reform and reform again in all sectors. DRC is becoming a such hell if no intervention is made immediately. This is true view.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs