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Digging in corruption

5th July 2006

The copper and cobalt mining industry in Katanga, in southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), continues to be plagued by fraud, abuse and political interference.

Global Witness’s research confirmed entrenched patterns of illicit exports of minerals across the DRC-Zambia border, with government and security officials either turning a blind eye to false or inaccurate export certificates, or actively colluding with trading companies to circumvent control procedures. Large quantities of minerals are leaving the country undeclared, representing a huge loss for the Congolese economy – but a vast gain for a small number of powerful actors. The big influx of foreign companies pouring into Katanga since 2004 has presented yet more opportunities for the political elite to enrich itself.

Historic elections scheduled for 30 July 2006 could provide a unique opportunity for fundamental reform. Global Witness’s report contains recommendations for priority actions by the new government, by companies and by international donors. These measures could have long-lasting effects for the development of Katanga province – and for the country as a whole – if they are embarked upon without delay.