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Cameroon President Reopens Glencore Corruption Case with UK Fraud Office

Friday, 14 June 2024 18:40
Cameroon President Reopens Glencore Corruption Case with UK Fraud Office

(Ecofin Agency) - Cameroon President Paul Biya has authorized a legal procedure to involve the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the Glencore corruption case, local media outlet Eco Matin reported on June 14, 2024. A source at the Ministry of Finance confirmed the report but provided no further details.

The specifics of the request authorized by Biya remain unclear. However, the case, which was previously settled with the SFO in May 2022, saw the Swiss commodities trader Glencore plead guilty and agree to a nearly $400 million fine. Overall, Glencore committed to paying $1.5 billion to the governments of the United States, Brazil, and the United Kingdom.

Moreover, Glencore agreed to various penalties in Switzerland and the Democratic Republic of Congo, totaling over $210 million. In Cameroon, the case drew significant media attention, with the National Anti-Corruption Commission closely monitoring developments.

The National Hydrocarbons Corporation (SNH), managing oil on behalf of Cameroon, stated in May 2022 that it did not recognize the allegations and had contacted US and UK authorities to understand the basis of these claims.

Glencore admitted that between 2006 and 2014, one of its subsidiaries used $21 million, at least in part, to bribe Cameroonian government officials in oil transactions involving public or semi-public entities, namely SNH and SONARA. The company acknowledged making a $67 million profit from these illicit transactions. Details on how the case has progressed within Cameroon's justice system are scant. The National Anti-Corruption Commission (CONAC) claimed to be handling the matter, and the Special Criminal Court, responsible for corruption and embezzlement cases involving public officials, was involved, but no public updates have been provided.

Between March 2017 and June 2019, Glencore purchased 8.1 million barrels of oil from Cameroon, according to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. In 2021, the company bought 137,808 barrels.

It remains uncertain whether President Biya's decision aims to identify internal culprits or further investigate the extent of corruption beyond the periods acknowledged by Glencore. Future developments will shed more light on the case.




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ECOFIN AGENCY offers a selection of articles translated from AGENCE ECOFIN. Founded in 2011, Agence Ecofin is a leader in Francophone Pan-African economic news, particularly in West and Central Africa. The agency publishes daily news on nine African economic sectors: Public Management, Finance, ICT, Agribusiness, Energy, Mining, Transport & Logistics, Communication, and Training.

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