More evidence of wholesale asset-stripping in the Congo. Read my press-release first then view details of 45 shell companies and some of the people involved.
In the latest of a series of releases detailing bumper windfalls made at the expense of the Congolese people, Eric Joyce today has published a list of 59 shell companies that have directly or indirectly bought assets in the DRC over the last several years.
The list contains 29 companies that can be directly linked to Israeli businessman Dan Gertler, a personal friend of DRC President, Joseph Kabila. Of the remaining 30 companies, 22 of them have the same registered agents as the principal agents for Dan Gertler’s shell companies.
Almost all of these shell companies have been incorporated within the last four years. Some of them were only incorporated weeks before being awarded mineral assets in the DRC worth $ billions, often at $ billions below market value.
The BVI shell companies have been bought either in whole or in part by multinational miners that are capable of exploiting these assets. In doing so, this has delivered bumper windfalls to the owners of the shell companies.
In one case, BVI-registered Emerald Star Enterprises, owned by Dan Gertler’s Family Trust and incorporated just weeks before it purchased the SMMK mining project for $15,000,000 from the DRC state mining company, was sold weeks later to ENRC for $75,000,000.
“These documents indicate a startling pattern of corruption in the DRC. They raise many serious questions about the role of President Kabila and his close friend Dan Gertler in secret deals with anonymous shell companies of unknown ownership. Where is the money going? And why is the IMF, the World Bank and the international community doing nothing about it? I have already written to the Serious Fraud Office asking them to investigate the actions of Dan Gertler in a previous case. I shall now be passing all remaining evidence I have to the authorities”, said Eric Joyce.
House of Commons
Eric Joyce is calling on his fellow parliamentarians to use the tools available to them to lift the cloak on these deals in the Congo. Referring specifically to the International Development Select Committee, chaired by Malcolm Bruce MP, Eric Joyce said, “Malcolm Bruce and his team of MPs are currently investigating the operating environment for governments and businesses in the DRC. As part of their extensive investigation I encourage them to call all parties involved to the committee to explain these business deals.”
Within the last two years, the failure of the IMF, the World Bank and the EITI to enforce the requirements of the credit facility on President Kabila’s government have resulted in asset sales to BVI shell companies at $ billions below asset value on the open market. Eric Joyce is now calling on the UK Government to investigate this failing and ensure the terms of the credit facility are enforced in the future.
Eric Joyce said, “I am now calling on the UK Government to pressure the IMF to hold a full and public investigation into this matter. They must seek the disclosure of the full ownership structure of these shell companies. They must find out why no public tender process has been adhered to for state asset sales. They must also finally find out why the DRC government is selling mineral assets on the cheap, to shell companies who seem to have neither the wherewithal nor financial backing to develop these valuable assets.”
“What has happened is that the Congolese people are being systematically stripped of their future. It is time for this to stop.”
Notes to editors
I’m sending the shell company findings to the Serious Fraud Office. Here’s a list of the uncovered companies.