It may be a drop in the bucket, but the Obiang family will forfeit personal property in the U.S. as part of a corruption settlement.
From the Los Angeles Times:
In a settlement filed in U.S. district court in Los Angeles, Equatorial Guinea Second Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang agreed to give up a $30-million house with a view of the ocean, a collection of Michael Jackson memorabilia and other property, including a Ferrari, to settle corruption claims by federal prosecutors.
The settlement with Obiang, who is the son and heir apparent to the nation’s president, is part of an expanding Justice Department effort — officials call it the “Kleptocracy Initiative” — to crack down on corrupt foreign officials who steal money and use it to live the high life in the U.S.
I’ve not been writing much lately — too busy with other work. But a number of articles and reports have caught my attention.
Of course, mainstream reporting on oil is generally all good news. It’s the second golden age of oil! Drill, drill, drill. Oil and gas prices will drop! We will become energy independent! Oil and gas will transform economies! Investors will see great returns!
It’s all so wonderful that you can almost forget about climate change and corruption and the fact that we’re really not seeing oil money transform economies in a positive way. Not yet, at least. Oil is bringing in money and raising GDP, but that hardly means life on the ground is getting any better for the average citizen. And, as recent reports from Ghana suggest, oil there is boosting inflation and putting downward pressure on the cedi — hardly a benefit for the people.
The timing of the report’s publication – a call for increased transparency across the oil and gas industry – could not be better. At this moment, the oil industry is putting heavy pressure on the United States S.E.C. to weaken the parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform that require S.E.C. listed corporations to disclose their payments to foreign governments.
Anatolio Ndong Mba, Ambassador to the United Nations for Equatorial Guinea, recently wrote a letter to The New York Times in response to a critical article in the May 31st edition of the paper. Here’s his letter:
To the Editor:
“An Iron Grip in Africa, With Ties to the U.S.” (Malabo Journal, May 31) presents an unrealistic and outdated image of Equatorial Guinea, a country that is struggling vigorously to become more free, to modernize itself and to provide a better standard of living for its citizens.
Mubarak has resigned and Egyptians are dancing in the streets. The road ahead will be bumpy and Egyptians will face many challenges, but what the people have achieved today is truly breathtaking. Amazing, absolutely amazing. And, twenty years to the day after Nelson Mandela walked out of prison, a free man! Remember: February 11th is a special day.
Of course, I can’t help but think what implications Mubarak’s resignation may have for those leaders south of the Sahara who have also been in power for decades and who, seemingly, have no intention of vacating their posts. Continue reading . . .
News flash: Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is the new chairman of the African Union.
I’m reprinting a brief article from the Pan African news agency, PANAPRESS. Referring to Tunisia and Egypt, the article’s author asserts that this unfortunate choice ignores the “deep aspirations” of the African peoples for liberty and human rights. Indeed.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) – An African rights body Sunday expressed indignation after Equatorial Guinea President Theodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo assumed the Chairmanship of the African Union (AU) at the 16th ordinary summit of the continental organisation.
The African Rally of the Defence of Human Rights, known by its acronym as RADDHO, claimed that the choice of Nguema Mbasogo “will seriously damage the image of the African continent and the debate planned by the AU on democratic values will lack credibility.”
Known internationally as a dictator, RADDHO said, UNESCO was obliged to reject the prize offered by Nguema to that organisation, mainly because of “the catastrophic human rights record of Equatorial Guinea”.
According to the rights body, Equatorial Guinea is notorious for its systematic torture of political opponents and violation of human rights, with the opposition completely muzzled. Also, it neither has independent media nor space for civil society organisations.