By Stanis Bujakera and Aaron Ross
KINSHASA (Reuters) – Greater than $400 million in tax advances and loans that Democratic Republic of Congo’s state mining firm Gecamines stated it paid to the nationwide treasury can’t be discovered, in line with a report by the federal government’s public funds watchdog.
State miner Gecamines holds minority stakes in a number of of the world’s largest and cobalt tasks, together with Glencore (OTC:)’s Kamoto Copper Firm mine and China Molybdenum’s Tenke Fungurume mine.
Gecamines has lengthy been dogged by accusations of corruption made by non-governmental organisations and opposition politicians.
Gecamines has all the time denied all allegations of wrongdoing. Its secretary-general didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Saturday in regards to the newest accusations.
Gecamines introduced accounts to auditors from the Normal Inspectorate of Funds (IGF) exhibiting tax advances and loans to the Congolese state of greater than $591 million, however solely $178 million could possibly be traced to the treasury’s accounts, in line with an IGF audit report seen by Reuters.
The report, which is dated Might 31 however has not been publicly launched, stated the lacking $413 million have been presumed to have been misappropriated and that auditors would proceed their investigations.
It didn’t specify when the advances and loans in query have been made.
The report stated one other $175 million paid to Gecamines as a signing bonus for a copper and cobalt venture couldn’t be traced to the treasury both, and faulted the corporate for failing to independently consider the degrees of mineral reserves at its joint ventures with overseas buyers.
Gecamines produced near 500,000 tonnes of copper a 12 months throughout its heyday within the Nineteen Eighties, nevertheless it has since fallen closely into debt and offered off its majority stakes in main mines.
Congo is Africa’s prime producer of copper and the world’s main miner of cobalt, which is utilized in electrical automotive batteries.
Since coming to workplace in 2019, President Felix Tshisekedi has overhauled Gecamines’ management, changing the executives most intently linked to earlier corruption allegations.