Friday, April 20, 2012

Equatorial Guinea Attorney General to Investigate Allegations Against Government

The Attorney General of Equatorial Guinea, Carlos Mengue Mekua, has opened an investigation on allegations brought up by the administrator of Technip SA, Daniel Lebegue.

The Attorney General is reviewing Mr. Lebegue’s statements that Equatorial Guinea is a country where one cannot do business because of corruption. The Attorney General has opened this investigation to verify the facts.

Mr. Lebegue is a trustee and auditor of the Equatorial Guinea company Technip SA, which operates in the Aseng oil field through Noble Energy and Gepetrol. Mr. Lebegue has not reported any corruption on his business operations being carried out in Equatorial Guinea. 

California Judge Dismisses Civil Suit Against Minister of Agriculture and Forestry for Lack of Evidence, He Says

George H. Wu, the California federal judge assigned to the civil suit against Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, granted a motion filed by his lawyers to dismiss the seizure of some of his properties by the United States government.

Judge George H. Wu stated that the Department of Justice had failed to present sufficient evidence to accuse the Minister of using “ill-gotten gains” to purchase property. In his indictment, he described the charges on the complaint as “vague” and called the complaint “devoid of any facts that might support allegations that Nguema directly participated in extortion, misappropriation, theft or embezzlement” of public funds. He then extended the deadline for the prosecutors to bring new and more sufficient evidence.

The Government of Equatorial Guinea responded by rejecting the notion that their officials could be tried or sued in foreign countries over events that occurred in their home country. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Equatorial Guinea Enforces Strict Control of State Revenues, Says President Obiang

Government defends commitment to upholding professionalism and transparency

In an interview with France Africa 24, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, defending the Government of Equatorial Guinea, stated it maintains strict control of State revenues.

“All the money is collected by the State,” said President Obiang. “No one can touch that money.” He then continued to discuss the various businesses that he and his family own, including his son’s companies in the forestry sector.

“I advise my family to work,” he said, “and to have companies and firms that will allow them to earn money besides the money they receive from the state. I cannot take money from the state either, so I have my own companies.”

The interview took place a day before two French judges requested an arrest warrant for the Minister of Agriculture, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who was accused of using “ill-gotten gains” to purchase property in France. In response, President Obiang stated that his son is an entrepreneur. “He owns infrastructure companies abroad. For example, he works with a company in Malaysia for roadwork. He did not take money… all the state money is secured.”

“If there are countries or international organizations that suspect that Equatorial Guinea is a corrupt country, I invite them to make a request to conduct their investigations here,” He continued. “You cannot judge or criticize a state without knowing the situation to its core.”

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea has experienced rapid development and growth in various fields, including the industrial and oil sector. According to President Obiang, the recently accumulated wealth from exploitation of its petroleum and natural gas resources is to be widely distributed among the public and is an opportunity for Equatorial Guinea to help find solutions to long-standing problems and participate in efforts to relieve suffering. For this reason, Equatorial Guinea is a frequent contributor of humanitarian relief efforts, most recently sending 400 tonnes to the Congo Republic and before to Japan in 2010 after the tsunami.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Equatorial Guinea Participates In Global Environment Facility Project For Sustainable Forestry

An Effort of The Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) to Conserve Congo Basin

Equatorial Guinea is now part of a Global Environment Facility (GEF) project titled A Regional Focus on Sustainable Timber Management in the Congo Basin’, an initiative backed by international development organizations, national NGOs, and government officials. One of three pilot countries, Equatorial Guinea will begin a series of regional activities in which all GEF participants will collaborate closely to address illegal logging and ensure the sustainability of forest production.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) project will focus on improving forest management and conservation in order to preserve the Congo Basin and is a task of The Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC), The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Rainforest Alliance.

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, has made Equatorial Guinea’s commitment to conservation management clear. At the most recent G20 Economic Summit in Cannes, France, he acknowledged government leaders from around the world who took part in an agricultural working group, stating, “While we in Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry are focused on our local environment and economy, we always think in a global perspective when seeking to achieve higher growth in the agricultural sector. In many ways, our success depends on our own efforts, though Africa and the greater global community can play a role.”

By participating in the GEF Congo Basin Strategic Program, which this project forms a part of, Equatorial Guinea is improving the welfare of local communities and forest conservation, while protecting its people’s interests in terms of commercial activities. The World Resources Institute (WRI)’s Project Director and Director of Forestry for Central Africa, Pierre Methot, stated, “This project will reinforce WRI’s already strong presence in the region and enhance our efforts to improve transparency and governance in the Congo Basin that focus on timber management, REDD, and other aspects of sustainable forest development.”

At the national level, efforts of this kind have already had a significant impact yet there is still a need to confront regional and cross-border issues. To this effect, the regional launches of the program have been held throughout March, in the Central African cities of Douala, Cameroon; Bangui, Central African Republic and Brazzaville, Republic of Congo; Equatorial Guinea will hold it’s own launch event in the city of Bata in April 2012.

Tighter Border Procedures Will Not Affect Close Relations With Cameroon, Says Equatorial Guinea

Procedures are aimed at controlling illegal immigration

The Government of Equatorial Guinea said today that relations with neighboring Cameroonremain strong, despite changes in security at the Kye-Ossi border. Security alterations were recently made in order to prevent people from entering Equatorial Guinea illegally.

Equatorial Guinea is a destination for people from nearby countries to enter illegally looking for work in its growing economy.

According to government officials, local authorities from both countries met to discuss and resolve the issue through diplomatic measures. “Cameroon is a friend to Equatorial Guinea,” saidPresident Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, “and we strive to maintain excellent relations with them directly and through our involvement in various regional institutions.”

The two countries have a history of cooperation. Since the Central African Community was restructured in the 1990s, they have worked together to promote economic and infrastructure development in the region. Both countries participate in the Central African Customs and Economic Union, which Equatorial Guinea joined in 1984, as well as the Central African Economic and Monetary Community.

Equatorial Guinea also addressed border issues with Gabon in February 25, 2011. The United Nations Secretary General praised the two countries for their “statesmanship” in solving the dispute and gave them full support from the United Nations.

Equatorial Guinea has had an increasingly active foreign policy and has emerged as a major player throughout the region and outside Africa in recent years. The nation hosted the African Union Summit last year and the Africa Cup of Nations 2012, and it has been a frequentcontributor to humanitarian relief efforts, most recently sending the Congo Republic 400 tonnes of humanitarian aid in March to aid victims of a devastating explosion in the capital, Brazzaville.