THE LUMUMBA PAPERS
PPLAF (a platform designed to help human rights defenders and journalists) published an investigation about how the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and people within his close circle control the entire economy through a network of companies. Xenia Palchun translated it specifically for Russiangate.
A story of Lumumba papers
2010 – October
The Gabonese bank BGFI Bank Group S.A. opens a subsidiary in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), called BGFIBank République Démocratique du Congo (BGFI RDC). The BGFI has branches in Equatorial Guinea, the Congo, Benin, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Sao Tome and Principe, Madagascar, Cameroon and France. Its shareholders in the DRC include BGFI Holding Corporation (60%), Gloria Mteyu – the sister of DRC’s President, Joseph Kabila – (35%) and several other Congolese individuals.
Francis Selemani Mtwale, foster brother of DRC’s President, takes over the Board of the BGFI DRC and becomes Chief Executive Officer of BGFI RDC.
2012 – October
Jean-Jacques Lumumba joins BGFI RDC.
In February, Lumumba is appointed Head of the Credit Department. He starts to notice shady activities the following months.
In April, Lumumba meets the CEO of BGFI DRC, Selemani to alert him of suspicious transactions, including for a Congolese company called EGAL and for the bank account of the Independent National Electoral Commission. Mr Selemani refutes any misbehaviour of the bank and orders Lumumba to stay quiet about the bank activities while threatening him with a gun.
In June, fearing for his life, Lumumba flees to Europe. He later learns that he was under surveillance from the national intelligence agency to prevent him from leaving the country.
On October 13, Lumumba resigns officially from his job. Shortly afterwards, agents from intelligence agencies show up at his house but his family is already hidden elsewhere. His family later finds a way out of the country and meets him in Europe.
On October 29, the Belgian newspaper Le Soir publishes an article on suspicious activities of BGFI DRC with the National Bank of Congo, the Independent National Electoral Commission and private companies. The article is largely based on internal documents disclosed by Lumumba to Le Soir which reveal how the bank is involved in corruption, illegal financing and embezzlement.
On December 15, the American information outlet Bloomberg publishes a detailed article describing the stranglehold of the DRC President’s family on the economy and business of the country. The different members of his family have shares or control various companies in the mining and banking sectors or other lucrative activities. The article also relates to Lumumba’s story on the BGFI DRC wrongdoings.
In September, the US imposes sanctions on top DRC officials. In December, the European Union imposes sanctions on key members of the Kabila regime.
In January, PPLAAF begins working with Lumumba who had found a safe haven abroad.
In March, Lumumba finds employment in the banking industry. He provides documents gathered during his employment at BGFI to PPLAAF. The latter begins to investigate bank transfers with investigative journalists at the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Le Monde.
In May, the European Union imposes new sanctions against a further 9 people of the Kabila regime. [See article] In June, US government imposes targeted sanctions on specific people underpinning the Kabila regime including military chief of staff, the army and police. [Read article].
SELAMANI's reaction to LUMUMBA blowing the whistle about EGAL's banking activities was particularly violent. PPLAAF, then, opted to focus on EGAL bank accounts using two bank statements. Alongside OCCRP and Le Monde, PPLAAF used forensic researchers to discover a network of companies and businessmen closely associated with Kabila and integrally embedded in his ventures. Two bank statements from a Congolese company called Entreprise Générale d'Alimentation (EGAL) are particularly relevant as mass flows of money are sent out of the country.
Content of papers
Entreprise Générale d'Alimentation (EGAL)
EGAL должен был быть компанией, которая специализируется на пищевой продукции: ее транспортировке и производстве.
According to the 2014 report of EGAL’s auditors, EGAL enjoys tax exoneration for its imported products:
Letter DGDA/DG/DRF/DG/2014/0124 from the Customs authorities dated January 24, 2014 which exonerates all imported products by EGAL from any tax. The letter says that all products imported by EGAL from Namibia are automatically recognised as from DRC.
Government letters 032/CAB/MIN/PL.SMRM/2014 and 036/CAB/MIN/FIN/2014 dated May 12th, 2014, give full fiscal exoneration to EGAL. EGAL does not pay taxes for customs duties, taxes on benefits nor profits and land taxes.
EGAL is administered by a board composed of:
Albert YUMA, head of the federation of companies in Congo, Chairman of the GECAMINES (public company dealing with mining industries) and Chairman of TEXICO, a company selling military equipment to the State and which is a shareholder of EGAL. He lives in Kinshasa.
Eric MONGA, close to KABILA, he does not hold any position any more within EGAL as he had an argument with KABILA’s brother. He resides in Lubumbashi (DRC).
Marc PIEDBOEUF. He is also the Director General of EGAL and is the Administrator of KABILA’s farm “Ferme Espoir”. He is a Belgian citizen but his registered address is in Kinshasa. PIEDBOEUF is a good friend of BGFI’s Director SELEMANI
Alain WAN. He is the director of MW AFRITEC, a Congolese company specialized in construction. He has both Belgian and Congolese nationalities.
WAN and PIEDBOEUF are involved in opaque companies worldwide.
According to EGAL’s bank statements, the company has no income (however the company has bank accounts in two other banks), except from loans given by the bank and by the Central Bank of DRC:
On November 23rd, 2013, EGAL received through three instalments, $42,9 million from the Central Bank which is a violation of article 6 of the bill creating the Central Bank as the Central Bank is not supposed to give loans to a private company.
Throughout the year 2013, the bank gave to EGAL different loans totalling $42,964,583. This bank is under the supervision of members of the Presidential clan and conducts many illegal operations.
For the president’s service?
Alain Wan and/or Marc Piedboeuf have shares in several Congolese and foreign companies.
MW AFRITEC, which In DRC, specialized in construction, transport, etc. It received from the Government of DRC an $18 million dollar deal to refurbish the concrete quay at Boma port. grants from the Word Bank. It owns a quarry near Boma with a private harbor from which Jospeh Kabila takes the boat to go on his private island of Matéba.
MW Afritec Marhall Islands
This company owns the Enigma XK a 72 meters luxury boat which was refitted in La Rochelle (France). It is now mooring in Cape Town in South Africa. For €275,000 a week it can take its guests everywhere in the World, including in the South Pole
This company is based in the Faroe Islands and owns a vessel called El Nino which transports frozen mackerel from Namabia’s Samaki to Boma or Matadi in DRC. El Nino also transports wild animals from Namibia to Ferme Espoir in DRC.
Ferme Espoir belongs to Joseph Kabila and is run by Marc Piedboeuf. Ferme Espoir is the only owner of the Société des Grands Elevages, which was sold to Jospeh Kabila by Marc Piedboeuf and Alain Wan. Kabila wants to make Ferme Espoir into a Game park, like the ones which exist in South Africa. EGAL buys the wild animals and ships them on El Nino Ferme Espoir in DRC. In MAY 2017 for example, the El Nino moved 450 plains antelope, including giraffes, Burchell’s zebras, blue wildebeest, waterbuck, oryx, lechwe and hartebeest antelopes - to Matadi.