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11 jailed in Chad over coup bid in Equatorial Guinea1 minute read

The defendants, all Chadians, were found guilty of “a mercenary attempt to assist a coup d’etat”

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A court in Chad has handed 20-year jail terms to 11 men accused of taking part in an attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea in December 2017.

The court of appeal in Djamena handed down the sentences on Thursday.

The defendants, all Chadians, were found guilty of “a mercenary attempt to assist a coup d’etat,” court president Yenan Timothe said.

Only four of the 11 convicted were in court to hear the sentencing. 

The seven others were tried in absentia, and warrants have been issued for their arrest, a judicial source said.

One of the judges, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said the 11 were Chadians who had been recruited by a “mastermind.”

They were picked up after the Chadian intelligence services compared their requests for a document authorising them to travel to Equatorial Guinea.

“They all had the same date and destination, which means that the preparatory work for this (coup) attempt began in Chad,” the source said, without giving further details.

Last Friday, a court in Equatorial Guinea handed down terms of up to 96 years to more than 130 people also accused of involvement.

The heaviest sentences, of 96 years, were handed down to three Equatorial Guinean nationals accused of being the masterminds and who live in exile in Spain.

According to the authorities, a group of foreign mercenaries had plotted to attack Obiang at his palace at Koete Mongomo, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the borders with Gabon, Guinea and Cameroon, on December 24, 2017.

Three days later, Cameroonian police arrested around 30 armed men at the border while Equatorial Guinea carried out a wave of arrests on its own territory.

In January 2018, Obiang dismissed the country’s ambassador to Chad and fired four regime officials, including one of his grandsons, Constantino Obiang Mba, who was director general of the state-owned telecommunications company, Getesa.

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East Africa looks to end illicit gold trade

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Countries in the East Africa region are discussing the adoption of stringent traceability mechanisms for the gold industry to stamp out rampant smuggling across East and Central Africa to overseas buyers particularly in Asia.


Mining officials from the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) countries are in negotiations and are meeting next month to discuss the body’s Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Strategy which calls for harmonisation of gold export procedures including taxation and traceability and certification.


The ICGLR wants its member countries to adopt the strategy by mid-this year.


According to the director of Democracy and good Governance at ICGLR, Ambeyi Ligabo, It is disheartening to see so much gold being smuggled from the DR Congo through its neighbouring countries while much attention over the past 10 years has focused on implementing traceability for tin, tungsten and tantalum (Three Ts) in which little has been done in terms of monitoring the flow of gold in the region.


Mr Ligabo also revealed they have agreed that it is crucial to implement the ICGLR guidelines on gold trade because the region’s image has been smeared by smuggling. We hope they speed up the process so these guidelines are affected by March this year.


Rwanda’s efforts to boost gold exports has been hampered by constant reports that the country serves as a route through which gold is smuggled out of the DR Congo to overseas buyers. The government is firm that all its gold is traded legitimately.

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Business News

Teodorin Obiang faces $30 million corruption fine

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A French court has ruled against Teodorin Obiang Nguema, Vice president of Equatorial Guinea, in a year – long embezzlement process launched by a group of anti-corruption NGOs
Obiang was ordered to pay a $32.9 million fine. He also faces a suspended jail term of three years after a lower court found him guilty on a range of charges relating to graft and money
laundering.
Additionally, the Paris appeals court confirmed the seizure of his property, including a six-level mansion in Paris which had been valued at €107 million in 2012.

According to Marc-Andre Feffer of Transparency International France, the ruling is an important moment.
Obiang has appealed to the International Court of Justice, arguing that his residence should be protected as a diplomatic building. A hearing on the issue has been scheduled in The Hague next week.
His legal team has one final option for appeal left — they could challenge the Monday verdict before the Cour de Cassation, France’s highest appeals court for criminal cases.

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DRC’s artisanal monopoly to seek private partner

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A new state company set up by the Democratic Republic of Congo to manage the country’s artisanally mined cobalt could seek a private partner if the state does not have the funds to purchase all production, according to the country’s minister of mines, Willy Kitobo Samsoni.

DRC currently produces about 60% of the world’s cobalt. Most of which is extracted by industrial operators like Glencore and China Molybdenum, with artisanal miners accounting for about a quarter of output.

The country recently granted the new company a monopoly to purchase and market all cobalt that is not mined industrially in an effort to exert greater influence over prices.

According to Samsoni, the easiest way out is to be financed by the Congolese state, but if the state cannot raise the funds to buy all the artisanally mined cobalt, it will then have to enter into partnership with a company.

He also adds that plans for talks with financiers are on ground.

Samsoni further adds that the new company, Entreprise Generale du Cobalt (EGC) will be managed independently by state mining company,Gecamines.

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