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HomeGeneralDIDIER BUDIMBU: DRC Ex-Convict Minister Implicated In Corrupt Awarding Of Kivu Oil...

DIDIER BUDIMBU: DRC Ex-Convict Minister Implicated In Corrupt Awarding Of Kivu Oil Deal To Bogus Canadian Company

DR Congo Minister of Hydrocarbons Didier Budimbu has been incriminated in a scandal involving a bogus Canadian company that was dubiously awarded rights to a gas block in Lake Kivu.

Lake Kivu, shared with Rwanda in the eastern part of DRC, holds vast amounts of gases that threaten to explode into the air if improperly managed.

An investigative report by international news agency, Reuters’ The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) has revealed Budimbu played a critical role in the awarding of obscure Canadian firm Alfajiri Energy rights to lucrative gas block.

Alfajiri, a company only set up in January 2022 just after the DRC announced its intention to auction off a raft of oil and gas blocks, was surprisingly won the rights to the gas block even after failing to meet some of the stipulated requirements and ahead of more established players in the bidding.

The TBIJ report has since unearthed the underhand magic that was performed by Budimbu who pressured experts at the Hydrocarbons Ministry into change the report of submitted bids, effectively rigging the auction in Alfajiri’s favour.

It is not the first time Budimbu has been entangled in controversy with the Minister, before his appointment in 2019, having spent time in jail after being sentenced two-and-half years in prison for fraud and money laundering for been part of a group charged with defrauding a married couple of €2 million by blackmailing them with nude photos.

Alfajiri whose headquarters are located at a five-bedroomed house in a residential area in the Canadian city of Calgary, has been deemed not to be the final operator and would instead hand over to bigger operators to preside over the gas blocks before taking their profit.

In the midst of corruption, preferential treatment or favouritism in the bidding processes like in the Lake Kivu auction, the DRC government is now struggling to attract bidders since the auction of oil and gas blocks was launched last year.

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