Illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (UNSC, 2001)
In this April 2001 report to the Security Council, a case study is presented to illustrate how a subsidiary company used illicit busi- ness practices and complicity with occupying forces and the Gov- ernment, as well as its international connections, to exploit the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo, thereby sustaining not only corruption, but also funds for further warfare. This was partly made possible through funds available for invest- ments and customers based in the USA, Europe and the indus- trialized centres of Asia. Similar examples are known in relation to mining, logging and petroleum operations in Central Africa, Central Asia/Caspian Basin, Latin America and South-east Asia. The report read in part:
”47. DARA-Forest case study. A Ugandan-Thai forest company called DARA-Forest moved to the Ituri area late in 1998. In March 1998, DARA-Forest applied for a licence to carry out logging activi- ties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but was denied a for- est concession by the Kinshasa authorities. In 1999, the company began to buy production by hiring individuals to harvest timber and then sell it to the company. Initially, these individuals were Congolese operating in partnership with Ugandans. The same year, DARA engaged in industrial production with the construction of a sawmill in Mangina. By 2000, it had obtained its own conces-
obtain resources valued in the range of several hundred million USD annually by continuing the conflict.
It is generally common knowledge in the mining sector where the minerals originate and from which militia.
Resources from major companies and pension funds in the in- dustrialized world are sometimes directed through subsidiary companies to help finance corruption and arms sales, process- es that may involve ‘conflict’ natural resources.
Companies help sustain corruption, often with rewards being paid in the form of new concessions or low-interest loans, where the recipient simply gains incomes from the differences in inter- est rates when funds are placed in banks, invested or given as loans to third parties. Most countries that have been through a timber boom have experienced the corrupting effect of crony-
sion from RCD-ML. Analysis of satellite images over a period of time reveals the extent to which deforestation occurred in Orientale Prov- ince between 1998 and 2000. The most harvested forests in the areas were around Djugu, Mambassa, Beni, Komanda, Luna, Mont Moyo and Aboro. This logging activity was carried out without consider- ation of any of the minimum acceptable rules of timber harvesting for sustainable forest management or even sustainable logging. 48. Timber harvested in this region, which is occupied by the Ugan- dan army and RCD-ML, has exclusively transited or remained in Uganda. Our own investigation in Kampala has shown that mahog- any originating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is largely available in Kampala, at a lower price than Ugandan mahogany. This difference in price is simply due to the lower cost of acquisi- tion of timber. Timber harvested in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by Uganda pays very little tax or none at all. In addition, cus- toms fees are generally not paid when soldiers escort those trucks or when orders are received from some local commanders or Gen- eral Kazini. Timber from the Democratic Republic of the Congo is then exported to Kenya and Uganda, and to other continents. The Panel gathered from the Kenyan port authorities that vast quantities of timber are exported to Asia, Europe and North America. 50. Timber extraction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its export have been characterized by unlawfulness and illegal-
ism, as concessions are swapped for privilege, political advantage or commercial opportunities among the top elite of the nation.
In conflict situations, private companies may fuel conflict fur- ther by trading arms for natural resources or facilitating access to funds for weapons purchases, often through subsidiary com- panies (UNSC, 2001; 2008; UNEP, 2007). The use of subsidiary security firms or companies involving former intelligence officers or special forces operators are abundant in the region. According to UNSC (2001) and interviews, many of these companies use recruits who are veterans of the British SAS, South Africa’s 32 Battalion and Civil Cooperation Bureau, among others, and their customers include many of the world’s largest mining and oil companies or their subsidiaries in the regions where they operate including the DRC and neighboring gorilla states. In March 2004, 64 alleged mercenaries were arrested in Zimbabwe, supposedly on their way to support a coup d’état in Equatorial Guinea.