Does the raging political unrest in Togo have anything to with the fact that President Faure Gnassingbe entirely controls and benefits from the sale of phosphate, the country’s main mineral?
According to a new investigative report on how African oligarchs are looting the continent’s wealth at the expense of their own people, the Togolese president and his family have for decades been selling phosphate to “privileged clients” at below market rates and pocketing the money using offshore accounts.
The Plunder Route to Panama: How Oligarchs Steal from Their Countries, an investigation by the African Investigative Publishing Collective in partnership with Africa Uncensored and ZAM, examines the role African political leaders – in collusion with foreign interests – have played in undermining economic development and exacerbating poverty on the continent through the blatant theft of their countries’ natural and mineral resources.
The investigation found that in Democratic Republic of the Congo – the world’s most mineral-rich country – President Joseph Kabila and his twin sister Jaynet have been stashing away millions of dollars in offshore accounts created specifically to receive the proceeds of illicit wealth stolen from their poverty-stricken country.
Some of these ill-gotten riches were obtained by extracting “taxes” from mining companies that never made it to the state treasury. In many cases, politicians deliberately collude with foreign companies to deny revenue to state coffers.
For instance, a Canadian mining company was told that instead of paying the due tax of $60 million, it could get away with paying one-tenth of this amount to the government if it handed over $4 million to the tax director.
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