Again, the investor and mineral licensing powerhouse in the Democratic Republic Congo, Dan Gertler is even more under fire after the revelations of his illicit trade during the recent years. Now, the formula and the amount of cash he gets from the foreign mineral extraction companies are paying for their passage to him. This as the deals between Getler and Kinshasa authorities are left in the dark. Whatever deal they have, certainly Getler is earning fortunes without doing more, than being connected to the Joseph Kabila government.
This report shows important facts and also bring certainties of the assumed fortunes made by Gertler, even as he is sanctioned and his corporations. Clearly, the mineral extraction is profitable in the midst of insecurity and civilian despair in the republic. While the businesses and the affiliates are eating, the public are fleeing militias and the army itself. The state is not serving the public, but the companies and the persons who has secret deals with the government. It is vicious and the international community let them, even as it is sanctioned, the acts are still appearing and has the ability to earn on it.
“Based on a number of assumptions, Resource Matters estimates the royalties to the Gertler-affiliated companies can be expected to amount to about $110 million for 2018 and nearly $100 million for 2019. This means that Gertler risks losing about $270,000 in revenue from Glencore’s operations per day. That is nearly twice as much as the world’s best paid soccer player, Lionel Messi, makes at Barcelona” (Resource Matters, P: 6, 2018).
“Glencore therefore has to balance the risk of increased pressure in Congo versus the risk of ending up on the U.S. sanctions list. This means that the royalty payments constitute a significant risk, whether they stop or continue. Investors should be able to know how Glencore will deal with this going forward. U.K anti-corruption organization Global Witness has repeatedly lamented the opacity of Glencore’s royalty payments to Gertler’s companies and called for better disclosure” (Resource Matters, P: 8, 2018).
“This conclusion was somewhat hasty. Gertler’s gold companies do not explicitly feature on the sanctions list, but that in itself does not matter. Under the U.S. Treasury’s so-called 50%-rule, any company owned at least 50% by a sanctioned entity is considered, per se, sanctioned because it is deemed to be “blocked property” of the sanctioned person. Both Moku Goldmines and Société Minière de Moku-Beverendi are at least 50% owned by Fleurette, a sanctioned entity, and should be considered sanctioned, too. In addition, the fact that no payments are made to Gertler does not shield Randgold from the risk of being sanctioned. The U.S. Treasury could qualify Randgold’s exploration activities at Moku-Beverendi as ‘material support’ to a sanctioned entity and impose sanctions on Randgold” (Resource Matters, P: 9, 2018).
Gertler might be in hot-water and the Kabila government might have decisions to make concerning their alliance. Still, the trades and contracts has been made, if the Kabila government suspend and revoke it, they might have to pay a settlement. While wait for a new company or middle-man to secure a grand deal for the licensing. We can question if the loyalty will be there, as long as the sanctions might hit the companies who works with Gertler. Because, they do not want to lose the profitable and secure delivery of the cobalt and other minerals in the Republic.
Surely, Getler don’t want to miss his winning ways and his double earnings of Messi. He want it and doesn’t care about how. Getler just continue to score and get contracts, which makes his giant fortune. It is by the blessing of his connections in Kinshasa. Peace.
Resource Matters – ‘The Global Magnitsky – Effect How will U.S. sanctions against Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler affect the DR Congo’s extractive sector?” (February 2018).
“The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, at the FCA’s 2016 Financial Crime Conference, stated:15 ‘The UK is attractive to criminals and corrupt kleptocrats who steal billions from their own people, often some of the poorest people in the world.’ The Home Secretary concluded: ‘If…we develop world leading legislation to combat financial crime whilst continuing to develop the capabilities of our law enforcement agencies, then we will reduce the flow of dirty money into the City….’” (RAID, P: 14, 2017).
Well, this is not the first or the last time we will discuss mineral-resources and the extractions of these to gain quick profits, either in sophisticated ways of administrative affairs between the ones the licence the operations to the company, which usually is government officials who are pocketed by subsidiaries if multi-national corporations; this is happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Guinea. As showed in the RAID report of January 2017: “Bribery in its purest form”; that I will uncover certain parts of to show the apparent companies and holding-companies that are owning and operating in the these countries by bribing officials to export minerals. They get ownership of giant mines and resources from these nations as they are licenced after favourable transactions for the governments, as they are kept bribed to uphold production as well.
This happening in nations that are sanctioned and has sanctioned persons that should stop these transactions and licences of United Kingdom and United States corporations, even if they have shell-companies and official headquarters in Tax-Havens that proves the ability of extracting the massive fortunes in these minerals, without proper transparency in the nation they operate with their mining operation.
I think the report should speak for itself and should be publically known to show how they are able to take the monies, profit and also bribing the officials without any consequences, even when the nations of Zimbabwe and DRC had sanctions against it; still the His Majesty Treasury of United Kingdom didn’t stop the transactions and trade with them. This proves that the UK Government doesn’t care about their own sanctions and how their businesses are operating without judgement and fear of getting fined for breaking laws to get rights and takeover mining operations in other countries.
Take a look!
“The review of mining licences that the Congolese government embarked on in 2007, which was supposed to clear up the murky legacy of wartime contracts, provided Och-Ziff and its collaborators with a golden opportunity to snap up valuable assets at knock-down prices. Working with the Congolese political elite, this group were able to exploit the threat of expropriation or revocation of mining permits to their own advantage. By 2014, according to Forbes Magazine, President Joseph Kabila had amassed an estimated personal fortune of US$15 billion in just over 13 years of power.xxiv In 2015, The Sunday Times Rich List estimated Michael Cohen’s wealth to be £335 million (US$500 million). Forbes puts Daniel Och’s (the founder and CEO of Och-Ziff) net worth at US$2.5 billion and Dan Gertler’s wealth at $1.18 billion. The DRC is one of the poorest and least developed nations in the world, ranked 176 out of 188 countries.xxv Almost 87% of its 69 million people live on less than $1.25 a day. Put another way, that $1.25 each day equates to $450 per year, and with life expectancy of 58 years, Och’s personal fortune would last the lifetimes of more than 95,000 Congolese at today’s values” (Raid, P: 10, 2017).
“Mvela Holdings is incorporated in South Africa.31 Mvela Holdings is described in the Och-Ziff release as ‘a private investment company founded in 1998 by Tokyo Sexwale, Mikki Xayiya and Mark Willcox. It is the controlling shareholder of JSE-listed Mvelaphanda Group Ltd and has a significant interest in JSE-listed Mvelaphanda Resources Ltd. It has other substantial privately held interests in the mining, energy, real estate and various other industrial sectors in South Africa and Africa.’ It appears that Mvela did not ultimately participate directly in AML” (…) “Palladino Holdings is described as a private investment vehicle, founded in 2003 by Walter Hennig holding ‘a variety of significant mining, energy and other assets in Africa.’32 A company under the name Palladino Holdings Limited is registered in the UK, and recorded as originating in the Turks & Caicos Islands.33 Other market notifications that refer to Palladino Holdings Limited as a shareholder give an address for Palladino in the Turks & Caicos Islands.34 Palladino Capital 2 Limited, a closely-related Palladino subsidiary behind a controversial loan to the Guinea government (see below), is registered in the British Virgin Islands” (…) “Other than Och-Ziff employees, directors of Africa Management (UK) Limited include or have included, Walter Hennig (Palladino), Andre Cilliers (Palladino) and its chief executive Mark Willcox (also Chief Executive Officer of Mvela Holdings)” (Raid, P: 17, 2017).
“Och-Ziff Employee A and Och-Ziff Employee B, along with the CEO of AML and South African Business Partner, conceived of a related-party transaction that would accomplish these goals….According to the deal documents, South African Business Partner was to buy 31.5 million shares in the oil and gas company from the South African conglomerate for $77 million and then immediately resell 18.5 million of those shares to AGC II for $77 million.…” (…) “Contrary to the deal documents…Och-Ziff Employee A and Och-Ziff Employee B knew that South African Business Partner would not pay the full $77 million to the South African conglomerate. South African Business Partner bought 31.5 million shares…for only $25 million, and then immediately resold 18.5 million shares in that same company to AGC II for $77 million, providing South African Business Partner with $52 million and an additional 13 million shares in the company. With the $52 million, South African Business Partner then paid $2.1 million to Och-Ziff to satisfy an outstanding debt relating to AGC I (in which the Investor had no interest), $25 million to the government of Guinea to try to secure access to valuable mining investments there, $1 million to the agent affiliated with the a high level Guinean government official and his family, and the remainder to personally benefit himself and his business partners” (RAID, P: 19, 2017).
“In or about March 2011, a company controlled by Coconspirator #1 [‘the beneficial owner of the Turks & Caicos Entity’ ] entered into an agreement with the Guinean government, which gave the company the option to buy into the SOMC [‘Guinean state-owned mining company’]. On or about April 29, 2011, an affiliate of the Turks & Caicos Entity loaned the government of Guinea $25 million as part of a deal to become a partner in the SOMC. Coconspirator #1 raised the $25 million through a related-party stock sale to the Joint Venture. MEBIAME signed the loan document on behalf of the affiliate of the Turks & Caicos Entity. According to MEBJAME, the partnership with the SOMC ultimately did not go forward due to negative press accounts, which indicated that the deal between the Guinean government and Coconspirator #1 was corrupt” (…) “He [Alpha Condé] said that he agreed. So we made the loan, we signed the loan to Soguipami…,and so I was authorised to sign and make the transfer.’ Another exhibit – a witness statement, from a UK High Court case, made by the chief executive of a company advising BSGR – states:67 ‘funds were transferred to Alpha Condé by way of a recorded loan of $25million and further unrecorded transfers believed to be “much much more”….Alpha Condé attempted to reward his backers. He entered into an agreement known as the Palladino Contract, pursuant to which the provider of the $25million loan would, on default of the loan, become entitled to a 30% share in a new Guinean national mining company established by Alpha Condé.’ Other exhibits in the ICSID case refer to Walter Hennig and AGC” (RAID, P: 20, 2017).
DRC laundering of mining exports:
“Gertler’s use of London markets to launder DRC assets began with another AIM-traded entity, Nikanor plc. Nikanor plc was described as ‘the holding company of a Group with copper and cobalt assets in the DRC’. The company was incorporated and headquartered in the Isle of Man.87 On 17 July 2007, Nikanor was admitted to AIM” (…) “In the Nikanor admission document, reference is made to allegations that Dan Gertler ‘acquired a temporary monopoly on sales of diamonds from the DRC as a result of improper dealings with the Government of the DRC’.88 The Nikanor admission document concludes that: ‘These allegations do not relate to the Company [Nikanor], the Group or any of their activities. They concern Mr Gertler in his capacity as a shareholder.’ Yet it is stated under ‘risk factors’ in the admission document: ‘…each of the Major Shareholders will be able to exercise significant influence over all matters requiring shareholder approval, including the election of Directors and significant corporate transactions.’ Moreover, there is also a reference to how the group of Nikanor companies with mining assets in the DRC and ‘some of the Major Shareholders’ have been ‘subject to criticism from a number of NGOs’ which included lack of transparency in the process by which the assets were awarded, the absence of public tendering and a joint venture agreement ‘unreasonably favourable to the Group and that as a result Gécamines [the DRC’s state-owned mining company] has not received proper consideration for valuable assets with a resulting detrimental effect on the economy of the DRC”(RAID, P: 22 ,2017).
Another DRC Agreement – Camrose transaction:
“The DOJ refers to ‘a $124 million convertible loan through a subsidiary company and AGC to Company B, a DRC Partner-controlled shell entity, funded in or about and between April and October 2008 (the “Convertible Loan Agreement”)’.121 Under the heading ‘C. Corrupt Takeover of DRC Mining Company’” (…) “the SEC Order states: Also in April 2008, Och-Ziff caused AGC I to enter into an approximately $124 million convertible loan with a holding company affiliated with DRC Partner. The stated uses of these funds were threefold: first, to provide DRC Partner with approximately $15 million to purchase a Congolese entity that had acquired the rights to a valuable mining asset in the DRC (the longstanding asset of a Canadian mining company) through an ex parte default judgment in the DRC that resulted in judicial misconduct proceedings; second, to provide DRC Partner with approximately $100 million to purchase a majority stake in that Canadian mining company in exchange for resolving its legal issues; and third, to advance an additional $9 million to be used for future mining operations in the DRC” (RAID, P: 26, 2017). “The transaction gave Och-Ziff control over what assets could be bought or sold by the entity, equity conversion rights into DRC Partner’s entity, a pledged interest in the shares of the Congolese entity, and a right to future deals with DRC Partner in the DRC. Moreover, the transaction gave DRC Partner complete discretion over how to use approximately $24 million of the funds provided by Och-Ziff. Further, Och-Ziff understood this transaction was part of a broader, ongoing partnership with DRC Partner. Finally, both Och-Ziff Employee A and Och-Ziff Employee B knew that DRC Partner was going to use a portion of the funds to pay bribes, and knew that the transaction was structured to accomplish that goal. This knowledge was not shared with others within Och-Ziff or with outside counsel” (RAID, P: 27, 2017).
“A 50% interest in Société Minière de Kabolela et Kipese Sprl (‘SMKK’) was acquired on 9 November 2009 as part of the CAMEC acquisition….In 2009 the Group acquired an option, for a cash consideration of US$25 million, to purchase the outstanding 50% of the issued share capital of SMKK by acquiring the entire issued share capital of Emerald Star Enterprises Limited (‘ESEL’), (an entity controlled by the Gertler family trust), the owner of the outstanding 50% of SMKK. The Group exercised this option and the acquisition of ESEL was effectively completed and control obtained by the Group in June 2010. The total cash consideration in respect of the outstanding SMKK shares, inclusive of the US$25 million option, amounted to US$75 million” (…) “Throughout the period of DRC Partner’s acquisition of Kolwezi Tailings and SMKK, DRC Partner continued to make corrupt payments to DRC Official 2. For example, on or about December 23, 2009, DRC Partner delivered $1 million to DRC Official 2; on or about January 5, 2010, DRC Partner delivered $2 million to DRC Official 2” (…) “On or about August 20, 2010, Mining Company 1 acquired 50.5 percent of Company B. Mining Company I agreed to pay up to $575 million over two years, including $50 million in cash. Och-Ziff Employee 3 and Och-Ziff Employee 5 were informed by a co-conspirator that the $50 million was for DRC Partner to “use on the ground” to corruptly acquire Kolwezi Tailings. As part of the deal, Mining Company 1 guaranteed repayment of the Convertible Loan Agreement through a novation of the loan” (RAID, P: 30-31, 2017).
“Camrose Resources Limited, BVI company number: 1055983, incorporated in the British Virgin Islands on 9 October 2006. “ (…) ”124 According to the company website: ‘The Fleurette Group is comprised of various businesses organized under Fleurette Properties Ltd., a company established in 2006 for the benefit of the Gertler Family Trust.’ (<http://fleurettegroup.com/>). A press release attributed to Fleurette Properties Limited states: ‘The Fleurette Group of Companies is a Dutch-resident group of companies whose primary activities are the investment in, exploration, exploitation and development of mining assets in Africa. The parent company of the group is called Fleurette Properties Limited, which is owned by Line Trust Corporation Limited strictly and solely on behalf of the Ashdale Settlement, a trust established in 2006 for the benefit of the family of Dan Gertler.’” (RAID, P: 58, 2017).
“Camrose is described as holding indirect interests in five copper and cobalt exploitation licences in DRC, including a 70% interest, via the Highwind Group, in Metalkol Sarl, which ENRC states as owning ‘the tailings exploitation licence covering the Kolwezi Tailings Site (otherwise known as the Kingamyambo Musonoi Tailings, or “KMT”) (PER 652)’. See ENRC plc, ‘Acquisition of 50.5% of the Shares of Camrose Resources Limited’, op. cit” (RAID, P: 59, 2017).
UK gives Concent to Camrose transaction:
“Consent for the Camrose transaction was therefore sought from the UK authorities, consent that was clearly forthcoming. ENRC sought to prevent publication of media reports relating to the SAR: 101Reporters has published not only the SAR, but also the letter it received from ENRC’s lawyers, which stated: ‘you will respect the public interest in maintaining the confidentiality in SARs and remove that aspect from your article.’” (RAID, P: 33, 2017). “There is a permissive pathway by which mines and minerals from zones of conflict and weak governance are transferred to companies trading on AIM who, in turn, through a process of acquisition, transfer these tainted assets to companies in the premium segment of the main market. This process can only be described as asset laundering. Certain of ENRC’s Congolese and Zimbabwean assets, at the heart of the SFO criminal investigation, were derived from the acquisition of AIM-traded Central African Mining and Exploration Company Limited (CAMEC), which was allowed to flourish unchecked on the junior market, despite a myriad of compliance issues that have never been addressed by AIM Regulation” (RAID, P: 34, 2017).
Zimbabwe Platinum deal:
“On 11 April 2008, CAMEC announced the acquisition of an interest in platinum mining assets in Zimbabwe via its acquisition of 100% of Lefever Finance Ltd, registered in the British Virgin Islands.209 Lefever owned 60% of Todal Mining (Private) Limited, a Zimbabwean company, which held the rights to the Bougai and Kironde claims south west of the city of Gweru in Zimbabwe. 210 The remaining 40% of Todal was held by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (‘ZMDC’), wholly owned by the Government of Zimbabwe” (…) “…The consideration paid for Lefever was a cash payment of US$5 million and the issue of 215,000,000 new CAMEC ordinary shares. CAMEC’s announcement of the acquisition stated:211 ‘Furthermore, CAMEC has agreed to advance to Lefever an amount of US$100 million by way of loan to enable Lefever to comply with its contractual obligations to the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Repayment to Lefever is to be made from the ZMDC’s share of dividends from Todal.’” (…) “According to the company’s own 11 April news release announcing the Zimbabwean platinum deal, CAMEC advanced the $100 million loan to Lefever to enable it ‘to comply with its contractual obligations to the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe “ (PAID, P: 38, 2017).
“Och-Ziff had control over divesting from CAMEC after the platinum deal was announced (Mugabe and senior Zimbabwean government figures were already designated under US sanctions) or after the designation of both the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC – CAMEC’s state-controlled partner in the platinum venture) and Billy Rautenbach, later described by the US as a ‘Mugabe crony’. Och-Ziff, however, held onto its CAMEC shares into 2009, selling its remaining holding only when ENRC acquired CAMEC in November of that year” (RAID, P: 41, 2017).
“Africa Management is referred to in the Memorandum of Association of Camrose Resources: ‘…Africa Management Limited, a company incorporated in Guernsey with registered number 47651 and whose registered office is at Ogier House, St Julian’s Avenue, St. Peter Port.’ (See Memorandum and Articles of Association of Camrose Resources Limited, Incorporated 9 October 2006, Amendment registered in this 20th day of November 2008, Memorandum of Association, 10 Definitions and Interpretation, 10.1, “Africa Management Limited”)” (RAID, P: 55, 2017).
That this company Och-Ziff and their subsidiaries are handling their business in this way is not acceptable, the way they are catering to corrupt government officials and stifling the citizens of the nations they are earing fortunes. These corporate-stooges are writing-off dozens of nations desirable taxes and regulated levies on businesses. As they are bribing both high-level like Alphe Conde who accepts the deals in Guinea, as well as friends of Joseph Kabila in Democratic Republic of Congo, even getting Tokyo Sexwale the former minister of ANC in South Africa to be parts of their network. These levels of bribing and usage of political connection to get resources and takeover companies with ownership of licences of profitable mines, proves the graft and bribe that occurs to secure extravagant luxury for the government officials that are accepting these deals.
The Och-Ziff are using these subsidiaries and corporations to money laundering or tax-exempt them to gain more profits on the mining in the nations. Certainly done with the leadership knowledge and showed their employee tactics to bribe and secure the transactions and ownership of profitable mines. That is certainly the reason for these sophisticated business-models, that enrichen the corporate leadership and gives government officials giant envelopes to give away nations vital resources. These well-planned well-crafted companies that uses all kind of loopholes and ways to escape the punishment for their breaching of international and national law to salvage as much profit as possible.
The long-term effect is certainly that the Guinean, Congolese and Zimbabwean government get less tax on the dollar as the corporate leadership pays them directly a smaller fee, than actually paying the legitimate taxation for their operation and their owned businesses. These actions shouldn’t be in the wind, it should be in the public and be addressed, even send the corporate leadership and government officials should answer to the public thievery as the minerals are taken without proper legal rights because of the fraud, secondly the corporate and the government officials are implicated in the thievery and should be sanctioned by courts and under the rule of law. Third the corporations themselves should lose the licence and the mining operations as they got them without proper procedure and there is invalid. They should also be fined and get banned from working in this nations or the corporations with these corporate bosses that are acting for them to gain this default destructive profits. Peace.
Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) – ‘‘Bribery in its purest form’: Och-Ziff, asset laundering and the London connection’ January 2017
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, November 15, 2016 – Fleurette Group notes the statement made by Global Witness today concerning the sale of royalties from Katanga’s KCC project by Gecamines to a Fleurette-owned entity. The Global Witness statement is highly misleading, based on factually inaccurate information designed to manipulate data in an effort to undermine a legitimate transaction.
Fleurette Group categorically refutes the allegations by Global Witness that the DRC economy has somehow lost money through the sale of the KCC royalty stream. The transaction between Africa Horizons Investment Limited (“AHIL” – which is a 100% Fleurette subsidiary) and Gécamines. With hindsight, Gécamines negotiated a highly lucrative transaction to the benefit of the DRC.
Additionally, Global Witness’s financial calculations are amateurish to the point of bogus. They do not follow even the basic valuation techniques used by all professionals in this field, and fail to include further discounts (such as withholding tax payments) that are both obvious and important. Global Witness has no excuse for making these mistakes. The manipulation of data seems wilful in nature, and designed to support a pre-ordained conclusion. It is difficult not to infer that Global Witness is trying to mislead journalists, the general public and other stakeholders at Fleurette’s expense.
DRC made net profit from deal, Fleurette a net loss
The transaction ultimately resulted in Gecamines safeguarding value for the DRC economy and Fleurette making a considerable loss due to the subsequent collapse in commodity prices and suspension of KCC’s operations. This is because Gecamines sold the royalty right before operations at KCC were suspended, meaning Fleurette had paid in full for a royalty stream that that ceased soon afterwards. While Fleurette was left unable to recoup its investment, Gecamines received full value for it.
This should not come as a surprise. Fleurette recognizes this as inherent industry risk in the mining sector. KCC, meanwhile, was well advised. It carried out its own verification, taking reasonable measures in accordance with its procedures to satisfy itself the sale was authorized by Gecamines and that there was an underlying basis for the sale. Independent international financial institutions advised both sides, and the transaction was priced in accordance with the valuations provided to the parties. Global Witness does not acknowledge these facts. Instead, despite these facts, it attempts to crititicize a deal which demonstrably and unequivocally benefited both Gecamines and the DRC.
Global Witness mistakes
Global Witness’ statement implies that KCC royalties were worth $880m to Fleurette. By referencing the Independent Technical Report of March 2012 prepared by Golder Associates, Global Witness was duty bound to provide an accounting and valuation in a bona fide manner, which they did not. Global Witness’ implication that the royalties were worth $880m shows a lack of understanding of the most basic business and accounting principles of Discounted Cash Flow and Net Present Value, used to value royalty streams (as well as a host of other assets that are expected to provide value into the future).
Even though Golder Associates provide a very conservative 10% discount factor to their valuation of the KCC project (including royalty cashflow streams they expected to be generated), Global Witness applied 0% discount when expressing the worth of the royalty stream in their statement. If they had applied an industry-standard 15% discount factor, the cashflow they misleadingly referred to would have determined a $245m valuation for the royalty right until 2030.
There is another valuation factor that Global Witness has omitted entirely, even though it hugely impacts the assessment of value for the KCC Royalty. Crucially, AHIL’s royalty right will almost certainly fall away in on 1 March 2019. As per the terms of the original KCC JV Agreement between Katanga, Gecamines and KCC (all publicly available), Gecamines has a “Replacement Reserves” obligation which requires it to deliver 4m tonnes of copper reserves and 200,000 tonnes of cobalt to KCC. If it doesn’t, under the terms of the agreement, Gecamines needs to pay $285 million to compensate KCC. If it is not able to do that, the JV Agreement requires the repayment to be made by way of set-off of the royalty, ie KCC will withhold the royalty until that debt has been paid. In short, the royalty that Fleurette paid for will not be paid to Fleurette from 1st March (assuming KCC is back in operation and paying royalties), but will be used to cover off a pre-existing Gecamines debt.
Global Witness also intentionally omitted the annual rental deduction of $1.2m from their calculation and 10% withholding tax on royalties.
Questions for Global Witness
Unfortunately for AHIL and KCC, the project ceased production in September 2015. AHIL does therefore not expect to receive any more royalties, and will have suffered a huge loss as a result – as royalties paid up to this point were far less than the amount AHIL paid for the royalties. This is an example of how industry risk can play a major part in the life of a DRC project in addition to the broader risks associated with operating in a country like the DRC.
Global Witness needs to be held to account on this occasion given the unnecessary damage this misleading report will do to the DRC’s extremely delicate economy and the reputation of Gecamines as well as Fleurette, which is leading the recovery effort following the collapse of global commodity prices. In essence, this was a good deal by Gecamines, independently verified by multiple stakeholders, which safeguarded value for the DRC, but a poor deal for Fleurette. It is deeply regrettable Global Witness is publishing such inaccurate information.
+44(0)20 7250 1446
About Fleurette – http://www.fleurettegroup.com / LinkedIn / Twitter
The Fleurette Group of Companies (“Fleurette”) is an entrepreneurial business with significant investment in diverse sectors, including natural resources, infrastructure, agriculture and technology. Fleurette has substantial investments and operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The parent company of the group, Fleurette Properties Limited, a Dutch resident company, is owned by Line Trust Corporation Limited strictly and solely as trustees of the Ashdale Settlement, a trust established in 2006 for the benefit of the family of Dan Gertler. Mr Gertler is a citizen and resident of Israel and the DRC (and honorary counsel to the DRC) and is committed to developing the country’s natural resources and infrastructure, while investing in the Congolese people and their communities.
Fleurette has a proven track record of successful co-operation with diverse parties, including the DRC State-owned mining company Gécamines, and to date has brought more than USD $7 billion of investment into the DRC, on top of its USD $2 billion in private investment. As a result, Fleurette’s subsidiaries and partnerships support around 30,000 jobs in the DRC and are amongst the DRC’s leading taxpayers, contributing significant revenues to the State.
Fleurette is also a major contributor to social development in the DRC through the Gertler Family Foundation (GFF) and through direct investment in social infrastructure. The GFF is the largest charitable organization in the DRC, funding more than 50 programs and projects across the DRC, which help tens of thousands of Congolese every year. These include rebuilding key hospitals, notably the Kisangini “Hospital du Cinquantenaire”; supporting the Operation Smile campaign in Lubumbashi and Kinshasa; rebuilding Blaise Pascal School in Lubumbashi; and supporting the Lubumbashi Zoo.
Chinese-owned mining company exporting to Dubai gave armed groups AK-47s for access to gold.
LONDON, United Kingdom, July 5, 2016 – Armed groups in Shabunda territory, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, received gifts of arms and cash from a Chinese mining company and made up to $25,000 per month extorted from local miners during a recent two-year gold boom. In just one year, up to $17 million of gold produced by Kun Hou Mining, the Chinese-owned company, went missing and was likely smuggled out of Congo into international supply chains, Global Witness reveals today(globalwitness.org/river-of-gold-drc).
At the same time, the Congolese state lost out on tax revenues on up to $38 million of artisanal gold produced per year during the gold rush, due to smuggling and misconduct by provincial authorities. The gold rush focused on the Ulindi River reached its peak in 2014 and 2015 and continues to this day. Evidence gathered by Global Witness also shows a provincial authority colluded with armed groups in illegal taxation of miners while another altered official export documents so gold looked as though it was coming from legally-operating mines.
Global Witness’ investigation reveals the extent of the problems in eastern Congo’s artisanal gold sector. Eastern Congo has seen an uptick in gold production in recent years, the revenues from which could have been used to address the region’s desperate poverty but have instead often funded armed groups and corrupt officials. Most of eastern Congo’s artisanal miners – around 80% – work in the gold sector. Recent international reforms have aimed to stop Congo’s mineral wealth funding armed groups. Global Witness warns today that the Congolese government needs to hold companies and government officials involved in such abuses to account in order for these reforms to work.
Armed groups, known as Raia Mutomboki, received at least two AK-47 assault rifles and $4,000 in cash from Kun Hou Mining, which operates mechanised gold dredging machines along the Ulindi River in Shabunda territory, South Kivu province of eastern Congo. In addition, the armed men taxed artisanal miners operating locally-made dredgers extracting gold along the river. Local authorities also collaborated with the Raia Mutomboki, through a tax sharing deal. The taxes collected by authorities appear to have disappeared, depriving Congo of much needed revenue which could be used for health and education.
“There were over 500 cases of malnutrition reported in Shabunda town in 2014 and yet the significant revenues generated by this gold boom benefitted armed men and predatory companies instead of the Congolese people” said Sophia Pickles, Senior Campaigner at Global Witness. “The Congolese government must enforce its own laws to ensure that companies in its gold sector do not produce or trade gold that has funded armed groups. Any company breaking these laws must be held accountable for their actions. Provincial mining authorities that fail to properly govern the minerals sector must also be held liable.”
Global Witness’ research shows that almost half a million dollars’ worth of Kun Hou’s gold was exported to a Dubai company through official channels. The rest of the company’s estimated $17 million of gold production is likely to have been smuggled out of the country.
There were over 500 cases of malnutrition reported in Shabunda town in 2014
Global Witness has also found evidence that mining officials in the provincial capital, Bukavu, deliberately falsified documentation to obscure links to Shabunda. Officials changed the gold’s origin on official export documents to show instead it came from the handful of legally-operating artisanal mines in South Kivu. This pattern has been repeated with other mines in the province. As a result, it is much more difficult for international buyers to be sure that gold has not funded armed groups.
“Provincial authorities overseeing Shabunda’s boom have, by their actions over the past two years, directly undermined international and the national government’s efforts to reform eastern Congo’s artisanal gold trade,” said Pickles. “States have a responsibility to ensure that companies do no harm, including checking supply chains for links to conflict and human rights abuses – Congo and the United Arab Emirates have dramatically failed in this respect.”
Global Witness’s report River of Gold also shows that:
· South Kivu’s provincial government and mining authorities continued to support Kun Hou Mining despite repeated legal violations by the firm and repeated requests from Congo’s national government in Kinshasa to shut down its operations.
· Mining officials in Shabunda town working for SAESSCAM, a governmental body mandated to support artisanal miners, ran an illegal taxation racket in areas where the local dredgers operated, including in collaboration with Raia Mutumboki armed groups.
· Gold from Shabunda’s boom was sold on to a gold trading house in Bukavu that then sold it to their sister company, Alfa Gold Corp DMCC, in Dubai. Neither firm carried out supply chain due diligence to international standards, which would have revealed that the gold had been obtained in direct contravention of Congolese law and UAE Guidelines. Alfa Gold Corp DMCC has a wholly owned UK subsidiary registered in London’s Hatton Garden jewellery area. Alfa Gold in Dubai and London did not respond to request for comment.
· Documents show that a French citizen Frank Menard, who worked for Kun Hou Mining, is deeply implicated in the company’s wrongdoing. Raia Mutomboki armed groups wrote to Menard in February 2015 to thank him for the two AK-47 assault rifles and $4,000. Menard also signed an official document confirming the sale of Kun Hou’s gold to Alfa Gold’s Congolese office. Global Witness’ attempts to contact Franck Menard were unsuccessful.
In recent years there have been significant international efforts to tackle the link between violent conflict, human rights abuses and the minerals trade in Congo and elsewhere including international supply chain guidance set out by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) five years ago, which has been a legal requirement in Congo since 2012. The US also passed a law and most recently industry supply chain guidelines based on the OECD standard were agreed in China. The Chinese guidelines set a precedent for Chinese companies to recognise and reduce supply chain risks and if adhered to should allow companies sourcing minerals from high-risk areas to do so responsibly.
Kun Hu Mining refused to comment in response to three requests from Global Witness. SAESSCAM have strongly denied that its agents collaborated with armed groups.