Tuesday 5 April 2016

DRC in the Panana Papers

The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of data from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. They reveal how the rich and powerful take advantage of secretive tax regimes. President Kabila’s twin sister Jaynet Désirée Kabila Kyungu, an MP since 2012 and boss of Digital Congo (a media company with TV, radio and internet activities) is one of a few African elites caught up in the scandal.

Mossack Fonseca has been involved in the DRC. The company registered Caprikat and Foxwhelp in the British Virgin Islands. In 2010 Joseph Kabila signed a presidential decree awarding Caprikat and Foxwhelp an oil exploration contract to blocs 1 and 2 in Lake Albert. This award sparked cries of corruption and foul play, in part because no one really knows who controls these two little-known companies. The Financial Times quoted the Congolese Oil Minister saying Dan Gertler was associated with Caprikat and Foxwhelp. More on Dan Gertler and Caprikat and Foxwhelp in Le Monde, here.

It is generally believed that Gertler and the late Katumba Mwanke were behind this award. Antoine Ghonda, a close Kabila ally is also reported to have been involved. The South African press reported that Khulubuse Zuma, President Jacob Zuma’s nephew and the president’s legal advisory, Michael Hulley, owned Caprikat and Foxwhelp. Deployment of South African troops in the Intervention Brigade set up by the United Nations in March 2013 to reinforce MONUSCO in eastern DRC is an indication of President Zuma’s motivation to stabilize the region for economic reasons. South Africa is also present in Congo’s oil sector through its firm Engen Petroleum Ltd, which is a major petroleum distributor.

More information about Caprikat and Foxwhelp is avaible in the chapter on the DRC oil sector in Congo’s Environmental Paradox, forthcoming this May.