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Thursday, 26 March 2009

Corruption in Oil, gas, mining and timber


Many countries that are rich in oil, gas and other minerals are nonetheless mired in poverty and poor government because the public revenues earned from selling these resources have been squandered through corruption and lack of government accountability to citizens.

Citizens of resource-rich countries cannot hold their governments to account, and ensure that mineral resources are used in a fair and sustainable way, unless they have full information about the management of these resources.

Through field investigations and high-level advocacy, we work to increase transparency in the flow of revenues from oil, gas and mining companies to governments, as well as more transparency in the award of mineral concessions, the trading of resources and the role of banks and other middlemen in resource-related corruption.

History of the Campaign 

In 2004, Global Witness published Time For Transparency - a report that uncovered mismanagement of the resource revenues of Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan & Nauru.
Niyazov Golden Statue

In 2005, Global Witness published Paying For Protection - a report that documented how the company Freeport McMoRan was seemingly paying money directly to the officers of the notoriously corrupt Indonesian security services for the protection of its mines.

In 2006, Global Witness published It's a Gas - a report that examined the gas trade between Ukraine, Russia and Turkmenistan, the latter a police state whose then autocratic President, Saparmurat Niyazov, financed his ubiquitous personality cult (replete with golden statues of himself, see right) through revenues coming from the sale of his country's natural gas. 

In 2008, Global Witness fought off a legal challenge by the son of the President of the Republic of Congo to remove various documents from our website. These showed that in his position as a public official, he appeared to have used state oil revenues to fund his lavish personal lifestyle. The documents included credit card bills which showed he spent $250,000 in two years on one card alone, mainly in the designer stores of Paris, Monaco and Dubai.

In January 2009, Global Witness continued to highlight the opacity of the Russia-Ukraine gas trade and the role of the intermediary company RosUkrEnergo as a key factor in the dispute between the two countries by writing an open letter to Gazprom.

In February 2009, after years of working on Cambodia's forestry sector, Global Witness published Country For Saledetailing how rights to exploit oil and mineral resources have been allocated behind closed doors by a small number of powerbrokers surrounding the prime minister and other senior officials.

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