[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Guinea/DRC corruption on oil: $36 billion court claim against Shell, Mobil, Fina, Gecamines
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sat Dec 2 06:01:04 GMT 2006
African corruption is focus of case at World Court
International Herald Tribune, 26 November 2006
Corruption in the oil trade is the focus of hearings beginning Monday at
the International Court of Justice in a dispute between two west African
The case between Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo, raising
allegations of massive bribery versus the exploitation of a nation's
wealth, will help define the liability of a successor government for the
corrupt practices of its ousted predecessor.
In opening arguments in The Hague, Guinea was to explain Monday its
demand for US$36 billion (€27 billion) in damages from Congo for jailing
and then expelling a Guinean businessman who was trying to recover debts
from the state and from oil companies.
Congo denies it should be held accountable for actions taken under the
corrupt regime of Mobutu Sese Seko, who was overthrown in a 1996 coup.
It also says the amount sought — six times its annual gross national
product — would be "materially impossible and irrevocably harmful" to
Congo will give its oral response on Tuesday to the tribunal, also known
as the World Court. A verdict could take several months. The court has
15 permanent judges and two special judges, one each representing the
The case involves Guinean entrepreneur Ahmadou Sadio Diallo, who moved
to Congo in 1964, the year before Mobutu seized power, and set up
Africom-Zaire and Africacontainers to trade and ship oil and minerals.
Owed millions of dollars (euros) in arrears from several companies,
Diallo won a court decision in 1995 against Zaire Shell. Guinea charges
that rather than pay, Zaire Shell teamed up with the other companies
Diallo was suing — Zaire Mobile, Zaire Fina and Gecamines — to bribe
Prime Minister Kengo Wa Dondo to expel him.
After 32 years in Congo, Diallo was deported in early 1996 as an illegal
"The real reason for this absurd and arbitrary measure was simply a
desire to get rid of Mr. Diallo," and to protect the "untouchable" oil
companies, Guinea said in its written application to the World Court.
Congo responded that Diallo had no right to claim damages because his
own hands were not clean.
"For over 10 years, Diallo, like nearly all foreign investors throughout
the Congo's long sad history, corroborated with an illegitimate
government in order to profit from the people and the natural resources
of the region," Congo said.
The International Court of Justice, the U.N.'s highest judicial body,
only hears disputes between states, not criminal cases against individuals.
Guinea says it is acting as Diallo's "protector," and that the nation
"suffered injury as a result of injustice and inhuman and degrading
treatment inflicted upon its national."
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