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Archive for the tag “North Kivu”

UN Experts Report expose illegal Gold Export to Uganda!

Again and again, the UN Experts are getting validated sources of mineral exports, which are ending up in the hands of the Gold Refinery in Entebbe, Uganda and ending in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. These stories continues, as the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and President Museveni are taking advantage of the lack of authorities and control of the borders. That is why the Ugandan can get the illicit gold and earn fortunes of the trade.

They are forging documents and doing so by tricking customs and ways. To ensure, the gold goes from Bukavu to Entebbe into the hands of the AGR. The company, which happens to run by Gen. Salim Selah, the brother of the President. The State House of Uganda is earning fortunes on the illicit trade of gold and forging the gold sources even.

Take a look:

In addition, the Group found that Ugandan authorities lacked a coherent policy to combat smuggling. The Group also found that Kampala-based gold exporters did not have an efficient system to avoid the contamination of their supply chains with illegally traded gold from the Democratic Republic of the Congo” (…) “In fact, documents concerning a supplier for AGR obtained by the Group show the risk of contamination of the supply chain with gold illegally sourced or traded from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The supplier, a Congolese national based in Bukavu who provided AGR, in October 2018, with gold worth more than $3 million, travelled with an official document, delivered five months earlier, identifying his occupation as that of an electrician. The supplier declared to AGR that the gold was sourced from the United Republic of Tanzania. Initial investigations conducted by the Group suggested that the individual was used as a broker by many Bukavu-based gold smugglers” (UNSC, 2018).

We have seen these stories before, its still vital and important to show, yet more evidence of the illegal export and illicit trading of the Congolese gold through Ugandan exporters, which happens to be in connection with the President and his brother Gen. Selah. This is common knowledge, but has to be addressed. As the ownership of the AGR is known and also, how that implicates the State House.

This is just a few statements of what they do, but still enough to prove how they do it. As this is very fresh reports and just out from the UNSC and their experts. Peace.

Reference:

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) – ‘Letter dated 18 December 2018 from the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo addressed to the President of the Security Council’ (31.12.2018)

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DRC: Is there an escalation of insurgency in the Kivu’s?

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the interference and sponsoring of rebellions has been steady in the two recent decades. There are now talks of even more brewing trouble ahead. There been killings of peacekeepers lately, also rising numbers fatalities as well, that has been reported in North Kivu. Wouldn’t be surprised if there was similar numbers compiled on the other province too.

Therefore, the recent spark, the recent trend of wondering if there are something new brewing. Is healthy to ask. There are one force who is new in play, that is the Red-Tabara who only yesterday was reported in killing 18 people in and around Uvira. While the Burundian Forces are following their trail inside the DRC. There is no numbers of how many who is part of the Red-Tabara or their possible camps. Just that they are now also a part of the conflict inside the DRC. There has also been clashes between the FNL (Forces Nationale des Liberation), the rebels of the army. Therefore, the are plenty of obstacles already.

While the Allied Defence Force (ADF) is on a rebranding mission from being a Ugandan Muslim Military Operation, whose trying to invade Uganda. To become a jihadi organization for all of East Africa. The size of their operations is uncertain at this point. These has been steady attacking and killing in Beni. Where they have had massacres and working with other local militias to control the area.

While that is happening, the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) have deployed a 1000 of their newly trained and recruited LDU to the Uganda-Congolese Border. This is been done as a measure to secure the border. Clearly, also sending a message about the use of the LDU. Who was supposed to be a supportive unit of urban crimes, but now are an extra brigade for a possible warfare in the DRC. That is not a positive a sign. The first report of larger scale deployment was on the 15th October 2018, this might have been an escalation of that. But certainly hits a pattern.

This is proof of movement from two outside forces within the battle-torn and continued warfare in the region. Which seemingly doesn’t have an end. There are also still Mayi-Mayi militias, also Rwandan backed forces within the region too. There is FDLR-FOCA, whose size is uncertain, but bouncing around after a seismic split in 2016. Where in 2018, the DRC Operations of a militia named Mouvement Rwandais pour le Changement Democratique (M.R.C.D) who parts of it came from the FDLR. Who might also be criss-crossing the border region between Burundi/Rwanda and the DRC.

While there is nothing new that there are military movement from Rwanda and Uganda, where there both supply of arms, training and militia men. This being M-23 or other groups who was supported by military supplies from across the border. Therefore, if this would happen again. It wouldn’t be shocking or surprising.

The timing of all of this is perfect again. If it flairs up to extended levels and the government will have to suspend the elections again. So that, the ones running has to post-pone it again. Just in the nick of time to secure more illegal time for Kabila to rule. While so many more lives are taken, just so one man and his cronies can reign supreme.

What is for sure, is that this picture will be materialized and secured with time. What is worrying is the scale and the amount of players involved. As the Burundian forces are now into the mix, the Rwandan with both Ex-Rebels and Militias, who knows what stakes the Ugandan has. Other than adding more forces on the border. All of this is indication of more to come. There will not be silence.

When there is smoke, there is fire. In this instance, I am worried of the escalation and the levels of troops moving. Even as uncertain as it is. Because they have killed peacekeepers, there are foreign supported militias in the Kivu’s and there are tensions in the region. Peace.

Opinion: What are they up to? Kuteesa and Kagame had a meeting in Kigali today.

There are reasons for why there is easy to speculate about the meetings and the secrecy of the ones involved. As there are only one official story. That Foreign Affairs Minister of Uganda, Sam Kuteesa brought a Special Message to Rwandan President Paul Kagame. We don’t more from this meeting, as it not recorded or transcribed. There are no record or no protocol. That is why we know so little about this. Just like we know little about the meeting last week between Kuteesa and Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa. 

The little we know from official Ugandan sources today is this: “Hon. Kutesa delivered a special message from President Yoweri Museveni to his counterpart. Mr. Kutesa had earlier met with Dr Richard Sezibera and congratulated him upon his recent appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and East African Community. They discussed issues of bilateral interest and pledged to work closely to broaden and deepen cooperation between Uganda and Rwanda” (Uganda Media Centre – ‘Hon. Kutesa delivers special message to President Kagame’ 25.10.2018).

We really don’t know what the cooperation or that Special Message was about, even if it was involving their mutual business and exports of minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Who knows right? Because there is no official communique, there are no minutes or protocol from this meeting. Even no statement of intent. The parties have been silent about it and the only message from Uganda is practically saying nothing.

Why I am thinking like this, it is only a week ago, this was the message from the meeting in Kinshasa between Kabila and Kuteesa:

Also, he reassured the military leaders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda will use this meeting to solve the problems on Lake Albert to restore peace and security, and to allow the people of both countries to freely and peacefully conduct their fishing” (MediaCongo.net – ‘Un message spécial de Yoweri Museveni remis au Président Joseph Kabila Kabange’ 19.10.2018)

Whatever Kagame or Kuteesa was scheming isn’t easy to know, as the interests are there and they have all profited from the insecurity and the lack of building institutions and political stability in the region. Kuteesa could also ensure they are ready for action with Kabila.

We can wonder as the DRC are scheduled an election in December. That a new form of militia will appear “out-of-nowhere” from these nations to destabilize either in Ituri, South Kivu and North Kivu even more if they get lucky. That wouldn’t be surprising if there is coming weapons from Kisoro or Gisenyi in the coming future. If it would be familiar faces from FDLR/CNDP/M23 coming out of the wood-works too. That wouldn’t be shocking (!!). To create enough insecurity, so that the Democratic Republic of Congo has to postpone the elections again.

Because that would seem likely, as a major insecurity and use of militias to create troubles within the Kivu’s and Ituri. Would give Kabila a reason for even launching a “State of Emergency” and relinquish all power until it is over. Hence, stopping the need of the two year long postponement of election. As he is on overtime in his role the President. No one would complain if he had to fight a civil war to stay in power, especially not foreign sponsored ones from former allies. That he happen to meet just in mere weeks before they assembled on Kisangani, Bukavu and Goma. I wouldn’t be shocked if that is the next step.

At this moment, it is just my wild thoughts, which sadly enough isn’t far fetched. As there are enough of freed former militia men walking about and such. Right now this is just my mere speculations, as there are no official statement/communique/document from the meeting in Kigali today and nothing from the one in Kinshasa. But these gentlemen tries to keep thing low-key, but at a later date. It suddenly explodes. If there would be weird activity in Kabale, Rwenzori or in Gisenyi in the coming weeks. I wouldn’t be directly shocked. As the timing is perfect to secure a “valid” reason to postpone the election and ensure a new “process” for yet another election. Because Kabila feed of the insecurity and needs it. Since he has no legitimate power and kills of the activists and the sends the political operatives that matters into exile. Peace. 

BTW: I hope I am terrible wrong and out of line. That these meetings means they enjoyed some posho/ugali in each others company and served high quality tea afterwards. But there are often a reason for these meetings. I just start bugging when I don’t know why!

The Sentry’s new report have been digging into the export of conflict Gold to the Gold Refinery in Entebbe!

The conflict gold trade sustains ruthless armed groups such as the FDLR and Congolese army units that commit mass atrocities, sexual violence, and other human rights abuses against the population of eastern Congo. It is critical that actors in the international community, especially global banks that trade gold and the consumers of gold, know the origins of the precious metal they are buying. More importantly, governments and companies need to take action against the corporate networks that traffic conflict gold and move it into the global economy” (The Sentry, P: 20, 2018)

Just as the Global Witness Report of June 2017 named “Under Mined” and United Nations Security Council Report from June 2018 named “Final report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo”. Today, the Sentry launched today the report named “The Golden Laundromat”. They are all digging into the illegal and sinister gold trade of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the possible money laundering scheme of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his brother Gen. Salim Selah. Who is both invested in this operation.

This report is again stating the fact and the reality with this trade. As the Sentry is proving new perspective to the matter. These being their analysis of the documentation of the operation and more into the Goetz business practices, which are vital for the export of these conflict minerals. They are showing the trail from the fields and mines in the DRC to the World Market.

Here is some quotes, which I think was worth taking a minute to digest:

According to interviews conducted and documents obtained by The Sentry, there is a significant risk that AGR sources conflict gold from eastern Congo, and that it imports illegally exported artisanal gold mined in eastern Congo. In 2017, according to documents reviewed by The Sentry, AGR refined and exported 9.3 tons of gold, although the company says it exported 7.7 tons. Several people involved in the trade of Congolese gold with direct knowledge of AGR’s operations told The Sentry that the company sources gold from conflict-affected parts of eastern Congo. Two prominent gold smugglers in eastern Congo acknowledged they sold illegally mined and trafficked gold to AGR from 2016-18, which two South Kivu-based traders confirmed” (The Sentry, P: 8, 2018).

Furthermore, there is at least reason to suspect that AGR buys gold. Trade insiders told The Sentry that AGR buys gold, and Goetz reportedly decides on the price paid to traders, as well as arranging terms and scheduling of payment. Ugandan export records indicate that AGR exports gold: it exported 9.3 tons of gold in 2017, although AGR says it exported 7.7 tons. Goetz’s original AGR project proposal sent to President Museveni in 2014 calls into question the company’s commitment to due diligence. In the document, Goetz, on behalf of Tony Goetz NV, states that AGR should attract gold from the region and that any gold traders who do not have official documents should be allowed to sell gold to AGR but pay a $500 penalty” (…) “From Uganda, AGR’s gold flows to other Goetz-controlled companies in Dubai. The DMCC was scheduled to audit another company in the Goetz network, Tony Goetz NV, in 2017, but no new audit report has been published. Despite the lack of an updated audit, Tony Goetz NV remains a Dubai Good Delivery (DGD) member today. It had passed the DMCC’s audit on responsible practices in 2015 based on its 2014 activities – before AGR was launched” (The Sentry, P: 13, 2018).

According to documents reviewed by The Sentry, Goetz sought the intercession of President Museveni in 2014 in order to gain a 10-year tax break for AGR. Three years later, that became a reality when President Museveni announced a pending zero percent tax rate essentially benefitting only AGR. This, in turn, potentially relates to a fourth FATF AML red flag that is applicable to the Goetz network: registration of a trading company in a tax haven even though its business relates to another jurisdiction. While Uganda is not a traditional tax haven, as a practical matter, it presently serves as one for gold refining since Uganda changed its tax structures on gold to attract gold companies” (The Sentry, P: 17, 2018).

What we are seeing as some would be shocked, other would see the deliberate action of the President to support and earn of the illegal gold trade, also ensure the business in Uganda. That the DRC can be used and illegally export the gold, where the business-partner are acting on behalf of the President that has made the arrangement for the refinery in Uganda. This has been done, while also giving AGR a tax-holiday, so that the production will not be taxed and neither able to follow ordinary customs. That means the President and brother together with Goetz knows perfectly well what happens from the DRC to the World Market. They are earning fortunes on the illegal gold trade and is single-handed securing the profits because of it.

The Sentry has done great work collecting the documentation for this and proving their allegations. As others has done to of late. They have extended their work and shown more meat to the bones. Making it a juicy stake. That is showing the acts of violence and killings in the DRC are benefiting the Ugandan President to this day. He is earning wealth on the misery of the Kivu’s, as they by doing this trade keeping up the in-security there. So, that the illegal gold trade can persist… and linger on.

President Museveni knows this and blames the MONUSCO still for being there to long. But his reach and his hands are in the cookie jar. As it has been since he supported Laurent Kabila to overthrow Mobutu. Peace.

Reference:

The Sentry – ‘The Golden Laundromat – The Conflict Gold Trade from Eastern Congo to the United States and Europe’ October 2018

Fresh UN Report: Illigal Gold Smuggling from the DRC to Uganda!

There been new reports on the gold smuggling to Uganda from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, it needs more reporting, as this illegal trading and looting of mineral resources from the Republic needs to be put a spotlight on. As this trade is feeding illegitimate government and militias whose using force against innocent civilians and citizens in general. This report that is reported in the report from the Group of Experts are expelling a deep, but also a volatile story of how they are transporting and getting the illegal gold into the market.

We can wonder if this gold enters the Gen. Salim Selah owned African Gold Refinery Limited in Entebbe, before flying away into the World Market through the brokers and traders there. We can question that, as the government on both sides of the border is accepting this. They are both earning on this and not registering it. Therefore, the location of extraction is kept secret, while the production and the paperwork is kept under the radar. That is why the consumer cannot know under what condition the gold came from and that is worrying. The smuggling, the lack of paperwork and forging of documents shows they are really pushing the boundaries to get into the global markets.

Also, this shows how blatant disregard for maladministration, they have done deliberately and not cared about the public.

Smugglers used the road to Mahagi, where they travelled either by motorbike, taxi or even truck. At the border with Uganda, when they were eventually checked, they bribed customs officials on the Congolese side. All of the Group’s informants on this issue confirmed that, in Goli, on the Ugandan side of the border, they were not asked to present papers or explain the origin of gold that they carried. Mahagi is a long-established hub of the smuggling route” (P: 22)

Two brokers told the Group that they mainly carried gold from mining sites in Kawa and Monbgwalu in Djugu territory. When they arrived in Goli, they would meet with a broker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who would accompany them to sell to Kampala-based dealers. One of the brokers told the Group that, until February 2018, he travelled to Kampala every two weeks with about 3 kilograms of gold (approximately $132,000) 20 per trip” (P: 22-23).

The Group confirmed that, in Entebbe Airport, companies sell empty seats. As previously documented, empty seats are used by smugglers to transport gold concealed in hand luggage. Two individuals associated with the gold sector in Kampala, one Kampala-based gold broker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and one migration officer stationed at the airport in Entebbe told the Group that, despite the official claim that minerals cannot leave the country without proper paperwork, gold smugglers continue to travel either without documentation or with forged documents. The migration officer and the broker told the Group that the owners of gold being trafficked do not travel themselves but use couriers who fly to Dubai to deliver the gold to buyers there. The two sources added that couriers can operate easily because they bribe customs and security officers at Entebbe airport” (…) “Two Ugandan nationals working for two airlines operating from Entebbe informed the Group that they are not requested to check gold in hand luggage. In the course of its current mandate, the Group held discussions with senior officials of eight airlines operating in and out of the Great Lakes region, who said that their primary role in checking passengers was to make sure no one was carrying anything that could jeopardize the security of the plane, a policy focusing almost entirely on weapons and explosives. The Group is of the view that gold transported on commercial aeroplanes should not be banned as it represents a key form of export for responsible artisanal and small-scale mining activity that observes the requisite due diligence guidelines. However, there is a need to address the loopholes related to the illegal transportation of gold carried in hand luggage on commercial aeroplanes” (P: 24, 2018).

Clearly, the illegal trade of gold should be looked into and be a worry for the international community, as the is funding militias and illegal activity within the DRC. This should not be overlooked, the clear indication of smuggling gold and also not registering the conflict minerals. Therefore, this is sophisticated and using all means to bribe lower level civil servants on both sides, to secure the trade of this can go-on. Both republic’s can do something about this, if they cared or had incentive to do so. However, they seem pretty fine and dandy with this activity. As the state and the close connected activity with the elites who are sponging the funds made from it.

That is why even President Museveni was there for the opening of the Gold Refinery in Entebbe. That shows that the Republic have no trouble with illegal smuggling of gold from the DRC. Peace.

Reference:

United Nations Security Council – ‘ Final report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo’ (04.06.2018).

RDC: Declaration No. 001/2018 De La SYMOCEL Appellant a la Consience Citoyenne Pour un Processus Electoral Inclusif (30.05.2018)

RDC: Communique Officiel de la Presidence de la Republique (29.05.2018)

RDC: Declaration Commune de l’Opposition Congolaise en Rapport Avec l’Audit du Fichier Electoral Conduit Par l’Oif (28.05.2018)

RDC: Declaration Conjointe de New York (25.05.2018)

RDC: CENCO – Appel a la Responsabilite – Point de Presse du Secretariat General de la CENCO sur le Processus Electoral (24.05.2018)

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