Report from the NGO Sentry: an “international scandal

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The NGO Sentry, led by American actor and activist George Clooney, investigated Kwanza Capital, an investment company established by relatives of former President Kabila in June 2014 and five years later in liquidation.

This company took shares in commercial banks in Congo and obtained many benefits, loans, without being subject to real control. Sentry says some $ 140 million could have benefited the former head of state’s first circle.

For the NGO Sentry, Kwanza Capital was the fake nose of the Kabila family. This investment company was officially created by Pascal Kinduelo, a veteran of the Congolese banking system, very close to the former president.

But in fact, it would be Francis Selemani Mtwale, one of Joseph Kabila’s brothers, who would have headed this investment company. We are two years from the end of the second constitutional term of Joseph Kabila and one of the priorities of this company is to take shares in the Congolese banking system.

Francis Selemani Mtwale has long been a manager of a controversial bank, BGFI. Kwanza Capital will try to obtain shares in two other banks, the BCDC and BIAC.

One of the points that Sentry believed should have immediately alerted these commercial banks, and even more so the Central Bank and other oversight institutions, is that the personalities involved in Kwanza Capital, such as Kinduelo or Mtwale, were found to be judges and parts.

Kwanza Capital obtained loans in banks where the two men had a position of authority. This company has also granted loans to troubled state-owned companies such as the SCPT, the Congolese Post, probably to cover other malpractices, said Sentry. Among the other elements that should have alerted, notably the Central Bank, large cash withdrawals or transfers to private accounts.

Among Sentry’s recommendations is the de-politicization of the Central Bank, the role of commercial banks, the strengthening of state control capacity, and audits of Crown corporations for which there are suspicions of diversions.

“It’s not just a Congolese story,” says John Dell’Osso, the editor of this report. But this case served the interests of companies based on three other continents. One of the first foreign partners of Kwanza Capital is a highly controversial Swiss company called Quantum Global. Its CEO is Jean-Claude Bastos, who has managed most of the 5 billion sovereign wealth fund. Quantum Global loaned Kwanza Capital $ 70-80 million to take a stake in BCDC Bank. This is to emphasize. The company that dealt with the legal aspects of this deal is the French office of an American law firm, called Orrick Rambaud Martel. One of the individuals who were directly involved in these negotiations, is also an adviser to Gécamines, he worked on the Inga 3 hydropower project and on many other sensitive issues. And then, there is a Chinese company that was directly involved in the component that concerned the BIAC, in difficulty since 2016. So, it’s really an international scandal. And it’s not just a case that led to Congo by Congolese. “

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