Based on the findings from its lengthy research and analysis, SARW urges Congolese policy-makers to consider the following recommendations, which are designed to strengthen overall compliance with current laws and to maximize the collection of past, present and future revenues.
- Investigate over a decade of lost revenues and enforce restitution the Congolese authorities must investigate how much legitimate revenue has been lost since the country inaugurated its current Mining Law in 2002 and ensure that those responsible refund the national Treasury as soon as possible. A special, ‘restitution’ task force could be created or the existing Anti-Fraud Brigade could be empowered with an amended mandate. The body in charge of the restitution effort should also make use of all international legal assistance treaties, as well as request support from INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization and other international law.
- Prosecute all those involved in the illegal production, trade and exportation of gold The authorities – perhaps using the same ‘restitution’ task force or Anti-Fraud Brigade – should investigate and prosecute everyone implicated in the theft of raw gold, the trade and export of illegally-obtained gold, smuggling gold, underreporting gold exports, and all violations of legally granted concession rights.
- Audit sokimo’s revenue and management systems The Congolese parliament must demand that the state-owned gold company, SOKIMO, undergoes full revenue and management system audits to ensure greater transparency and accountability.
- Conduct regular audits of gold exploration permit holders The authorities should conduct audits of industrial exploration permit holders at regular intervals to ascertain whether they are accurately reporting their progress and to ensure that public officials maintain control of their scheduled activities.
- Tighten border controls and strengthen search and seizure mandates border control agencies should coordinate their efforts with the Centre for Evaluation, Expert Analysis and Certification of Precious Minerals (CEEC) to enforce compliance with certification rules and the payment of export taxes. Border control agents must begin routine body and cargo searches and strengthen their search and seizure procedures.
- launch diplomatic initiative to secure support for restitution and intensified law enforcement The Congolese foreign ministry should launch a bilateral and multilateral diplomatic initiative to ensure international compliance with, and support for, the country’s efforts to secure restitution and pursue current criminal activities across international borders. The Congolese authorities should specifically work with the governments of:
- Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Sudan to screen gold importers to ensure that they are not connected with criminal activities and gold smuggling, and that they do not aid and abet people or companies that seek to evade Congolese tax and customs duties;
- The United Arab Emirates, India, Lebanon, Turkey, Switzerland, Belgium, UK and other gold processing and trading states to remind them of their obligations to screen consignments of gold from central Africa to ensure that they are not connected with criminal activities and gold smuggling, and that they do not aid and abet evaders of Congolese tax and customs duties; and
- The UK, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Sweden and other states where gold mining companies operating in the Congo apply for a listing or are listed on their stock exchanges to ensure that these enterprises are adhering to the corporate social responsibility standards imposed by their respective stock exchanges, and that they are not involved in, or tolerant of, corrupt or criminal practices in the Congo.