A conference on Addressing Illicit Financial Flows and Asset Recovery in the Extractive Industries has urged the African Union and governments of Nigeria and five other African countries to institute joint and separate judicial action against a British company, Glencore and its accomplices.
The Conference, in a communique released on Tuesday at the end of its two-day session in Diamniadio, Dakar, Senegal, asked the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to call out Glencore for failure to adhere to the group’s principles and values.
Glencore, a United Kingdom subsidiary of mining and commodity trading group, was convicted by a Court in London of seven bribery offences pertaining to its oil business in Africa.
The Southwark Crown Court asked the company to pay £281 million in fines and confiscated profit as sanction for its “sustained criminality.”
While Glencore will pay £182.9 million as fine, £93.5 million from its profits will be held via a confiscation order, Judge Peter Fraser said while convicting the company for “corporate corruption on a widespread scale, deploying very substantial sums of money in bribes”.
The crimes were committed by the company in Nigeria, Cameroon, South Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Conference was convened by the Secretariat of the African Union High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows and the Working Group on Common Africa Position on Asset Recovery (CAPAR).
In its 11-recommendation, the conference described Glencore corruption scandal as a symptom of a widespread and deliberate practice in the extractive industries in Africa.
”The conference calls upon the African Union and the governments of the six African victim states to draw all necessary resources for joint and separate judicial action against Glencore and its accomplices.
“The Conference calls upon Transparency International and its partners, Publish What You Pay, and related advocacy Civil Society Organisations to actively engage and support action against Glencore on these six cases.
”It also calls upon EITI to publicly call out Glencore and demand that it publicly demonstrates fidelity to the principles and values that EITI stands for.”
The conference reminded EITI of its critical role in promoting accountability and transparency in the extractive sector given that the bulk of illicit financial flows stems out from transactions in the sector.
It added that the EITI should actively take up its role in partnership with the Working Group on Extractives.
”Looking at the significant contribution of the extractive industries to illicit financial flows and the attendant impact on African economies, the industries contribute to illicit financial flows through various means including through under-declaration, underpricing and the evasion of capital controls.
“It is further complicated by base erosion and profit shifting practices of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) that misrepresent the value of goods and/or services in order to relocate untaxed profits to their home nations or to financial secrecy jurisdictions,” it said.
The conference noted that Multinational Corporations in extractive industries also engage in bribery or other corrupt activities to secure mining or drilling licenses, permits, or favourable tax treatment from government officials.
“It said some mining companies also undertake mass exports of mineral ores and crude oil from African countries often disguising and grossly understating the true value of the minerals, precious metals and/or oil in the raw materials that they export for refining.”
On the issue of criminal accountability in the extractive industries, the conference urged African Union Member States to prioritise ratification of the Malabo Protocol for a criminal jurisdiction for the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
This, it noted, would strengthen Africa’s own mechanism for criminal accountability in the extractive industries.
The Conference commended African Development Bank for taking the initiative to put in place the African Integrity Fund but advised the bank to prioritize the operationalisation of the fund