Press statement from the office of Pauline Latham OBE MP, Member of the International Development Select Committee, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Extractive Industries    
Secret mining in the Congo: Integrity of the UK aid programme & the IMF at stake
Ahead of today’s conference of Secret Mining in the Congo, by Professor Willy Vangu, please find below a supporting statement from Pauline Latham MP.
“Until the IMF start enforcing the transparency caveats attached to their massive loan to the DRC Government, British Ministers should force the IMF to stop their support of this regime.
“The integrity of the UK’s aid programme and the work of the IMF are at stake here.  It cannot be right that, in the face of such overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing, the UK Government does nothing.  The UK aid programme is vital to protecting the lives of so many of the world’s poorest but for the long term betterment of aid recipients, the UK Government must be prepared to take tough decision on aid and loan payments through the IMF.  This includes suspension and cancellation of projects.
“UK taxpayer-funded aid programmes, delivered by DfID or via the IMF or World Bank are only value for money if Andrew Mitchell and other Ministers work together to root out corruption.  There is little point in pumping money into a DRC Government that is stealing its own natural resources through a network of shell companies housed in the British Virgin Islands.
“What is all the more concerning for UK taxpayers, seeking reassurances that their money is being spent wisely, is the involvement of London-listed FTSE 100 firms.  It raises the need for a full investigation to get to the bottom of who is benefiting from these deals – are London listed firms using Dan Gertler and shell companies to navigate around anti-bribery legislation?
“The acid test will be the sale of the Lonshi and Frontier mines, both formerly owned by First Quantum Minerals. According to the IMF rules, these two mines should be sold through a public tender to get the best deal for the Congolese people.
“This is a complex situation, made purposely so by its architects.  But for all of us who care about the Congolese and transparency in business, we must get to the bottom of it.  We must get to the bottom of it because what Professor Vangu has outlined today is evidence of the channels used by a ruling elite to keep a country with huge natural wealth tragically poor.”
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