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Equatorial Guinea

Ex-Clinton aide wins court ruling against African country


Thehill.com

By Kevin Bogardus – 08/26/13 06:12 PM ET

A U.S. court has ruled that the Republic of Equatorial Guinea must pay Lanny Davis, who served as special counsel to former President Clinton, more than $158,000.

In an opinion signed Monday, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras awarded the sum to his firm, Lanny J. Davis & Associates, for his “unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses” owed by the tiny African country.

In 2010, Davis entered into a joint contract with his then-law firm McDermott Will & Emery to represent Equatorial Guinea. Under the more than $2 million contract, Davis and others were to embark on “a comprehensive reform program” for the oil-rich nation, according to Justice records.

Equatorial Guinea has not been a shining beacon of democracy.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo seized power in 1979 through a military coup. The country has been beset by allegations of human rights violations, and Obiang’s son was the subject of a probe by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for moving millions of dollars through the United States.

In October 2011, Davis filed a complaint against the country for breaching their contract by not paying back his expenses. Davis noted that he traveled several times to Africa, wrote a speech for Obiang and worked with senior State Department officials and the U.S. ambassador to Equatorial Guinea on behalf of the country.

Equatorial Guinea did not respond to Davis’s complaint in court.

Mark Zaid, an attorney representing Davis, said the large sum of money awarded is to pay back Davis for expenses he accrued while representing Equatorial Guinea that the country didn’t reimburse.

“This will cover out-of-pocket expenses that Lanny spent while representing Equatorial Guinea and trying to bring them into law and democracy, for things like airfare and other travel expenses. It also covers interest on the underlying debt for the past two years from the unpaid bills,” Zaid said.

Davis came under criticism for representing Equatorial Guinea, but Zaid said Davis was working to reform the country.

“He [Davis] was hired to persuade the country to act more democratic, to open up its relations with the United States. The job was to bring established democracy to the people of Equatorial Guinea. Unfortunately, the country not only turned its back on that effort but stiffed Lanny in the process for those out-of-pocket expenses,” Zaid said.

Zaid said they will pursue the country’s assets here in the United States in order to recoup Davis’s expenses.

“We will be going around the country and trying grab Equatorial Guinea’s assets here in the United States to pay back this judgment. Eventually, we will get it,” Zaid said.

Israel defence equipment dealers eye African security market


The East African

By Steve Mbogo

Israeli defence equipment manufacturers are looking to Africa as their next big market as they seek a share of the continent’s growing defence spending.

Israel currently controls less than one per cent of Africa’s weapons market and is seeking a larger share as an increasingly richer Africa will spend more to meet growing public and private security needs.

Executives in Israel’s defence companies said they are receiving more inquiries from Africa for a range of equipment for defence, police, prisons and intelligence sectors collectively known as homeland security.

Demand for homeland security solutions is rising in Africa as the countries face growing threats from secessionist groups, transnational criminals and religious fundamentalists among others.

African armies, police and prison services are also reforming as the private security industry expands, offering a growing market for security solutions vendors.

Homeland security spending is growing across the world partly because nations are increasingly facing asymmetrical war from non-state actors. This is expected to drive the growth of the defence market,” said Yaakov Perry, former head of Israel General Security Service, Shin Bet.

In East Africa countries are facing homeland security threats. Kenya is cracking down on the secessionist group Mombasa Republican Council, Uganda is still pursuing the militant group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as Tanzania faces secession threats from Zanzibar while Rwanda and Burundi also have delicate security situations.

Discovery of high value natural resources has also prompted countries to invest more in security as exploration companies also invest in private security to secure their facilities.

Homeland security spending is expected to reach $344.5 billion in 2022 up from $178 billion dollars in 2010, with significant growth in aviation security, communications, data and cyber security and counter terrorism, according to the Israel Export and International Co-operation Institute.

Israel’s arms exports to Africa have been minimal, accounting for less than one per cent of transfers of major weapons to sub-Saharan Africa for the period 2006–10 according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Arms Industry Database.

In the period 2006–10 Israel delivered major weapons to nine sub-Saharan states—Cameroon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Lesotho, Nigeria, Rwanda, the Seychelles, South Africa and Uganda.

For most of these recipients, imports from Israel made up less than a quarter of their total arms imports, SIPRI added.

Key defence manufacturers eyeing operations in Africa include Mer Systems, a security and communications company, Tar, which sells military and police equipment, 3M Israel that deals with security and protection services, Blue Bird that sells unmanned aerial vehicles and Elbit Systems that offers intelligence and cyber security solutions.

Uganda: Can MPs improve oil contracts?


The Independent

By Andrew M. Mwenda

February 17, 2012

We should be suspicious of parliamentary interventions in lucrative government contracts because they often make a bad situation worse.

Recently, President Yoweri Museveni ordered government of Uganda officials to sign oil Production Sharing Agreements with companies. This was in spite of a resolution by parliament stopping all new agreements. Many Ugandans are rightfully sick and tired of corruption and genuinely suspicious of the executive. They support parliament in its self-proclaimed fight against the problem. Yet I am much more inclined to side with Museveni on signing PSAs.

The signing of oil agreements is important as a signal that investment in the sector can begin. This allows companies interested in investing in downstream and upstream activities feeding into and from the industry to bring in money. For many countries, this leads to increased employment and economic growth. In Ghana, upon signing the agreements, economic growth was 20 percent that year. In Equatorial Guinea, it was 30 percent. The challenge for Uganda actually is to examine the benefits against the costs of delaying these contracts through protracted parliamentary investigations.

I have been a journalist in Uganda for almost 18 years now; my first major story was published in The Monitor in January 1994 when I was a first year student at Makerere University. This has been a fulfilling practical craft given my love of storytelling. It has also been an intellectual journey; my interest in the complexity of social phenomenon has taught me to reflect. So I see a mismatch between the theory of democracy as presented in textbooks and the reality of its outplay in the politics I cover as a journalist.

For instance, democratic theory teaches us that when exercising its functions, parliament seeks to hold the executive to account. It seems theoretically obvious that in passing a resolution suspending signing oil contracts, the House was trying to check any abuses the executive could have made. Yet from my experience, such democratic contestations are often driven by more complex motivations. Even when well-intentioned, they often produce results at odds with the proclaimed purpose. In the case of most government contracts I have covered, these contests undermine the state’s ability to negotiate better deals for the country.

Many Ugandans genuinely believe this parliamentary intervention will stop the corruption of the executive in oil contracts. This faith is largely because many people want to have hope in the destiny of Uganda. Yet my experience shows parliamentary intervention is more likely to make the situation worse. The oil barons who come to Uganda are not fools. They have worked in many other African countries and beyond. They know that Uganda’s 9th parliament is not simply made of selfless MPs tirelessly fighting for the public good. They also know that even when MPs feel for their country – and many do – they also have personal interests…Read more.

US government seeks $70M from African official


ABC News
October 26, 2011 5:51 AM
(AP)  LOS ANGELES — The son of Equatorial Guinea‘s president plundered his country’s natural resources through corruption, spending more than $70 million in looted profits on a Malibu mansion, a Gulfstream jet and Michael Jacksonmemorabilia, the U.S. government said.

In what appeared to be a concerted action, France last month seized 11 luxury sports cars belonging to Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue, a government minister in the West African country and heir-apparent to the presidency. And a Spanish investigative judge has been asked to seize properties in Madrid and Las Palmas in the Canary Islands owned by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, his sons and some ministers, acting on a case brought by the Pro-Human Rights Association of Spain…Read more.

Equatorial Guinea: The son of the president refuses to return a $38 million jet he bought


Map of Equatorial Guinea
Image via Wikipedia

Courthouse News Serive

By Ryan Abbott

October 27

U.S. Tells of Corruption in West Africa

WASHINGTON (CN) – The son of the president of Equatorial Guinea refuses to return a $38 million jet he bought with money he stole through companies that harvest his country’s natural resources, the United States says. The federal complaint is replete with tales of extravagant expenditures by the spoiled son, including “eight Ferraris, seven Rolls-Royces, five Bentleys, four Mercedes, a Porsche, two Lamborghinis and an Aston Martin” and $275,000 for one of Michael Jackson’s gloves.
The Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, Criminal Division, sued the Gulfstream G-V Jet, in a rather lurid, 24-page complaint that describes the pampered life of the son of the longtime president.
The jet was bought from Blue Sapphire Services and is believed to be in Equatorial Guinea. The entity that bought it is called Ebony Shine International, but its true beneficiary is the president’s son, according to the complaint.
The United States sued the jet, seeking forfeiture in rem. [ Read document here]
Though not named as defendants, key players in the lawsuit are Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo, who seized power in a 1979 coup – which overthrew his uncle – and the president’s son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang MangueUncle Sam says the jet was purchased using money obtained by unlawful activity, including extortion, misappropriation, theft, and embezzlement of public funds by or for the benefit of a public official, in violation of E.G. laws.
It seeks the forfeiture of “One Gulfstream Aerospace model G-V aircraft purchased by Ebony Shine International Ltd., bearing manufacturer’s serial number 669 and International Registration Number VPCES (Cayman Islands), its tools and appurtenances.”…Read more.

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