1 - The Life of the Lumumba Papers

2010 – October:

The Gabonese bank BGFI Bank Group S.A. opens a subsidiary in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), called BGFIBank République Démocratique du Congo (BGFI RDC). The BGFI has branches in Equatorial Guinea, the Congo, Benin, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Sao Tome and Principe, Madagascar, Cameroon and France. Its shareholders in the DRC include BGFI Holding Corporation (60%), Gloria Mteyu – the sister of DRC’s President, Joseph Kabila – (35%) and several other Congolese individuals.

Joseph Kabila

2012:

Francis Selemani Mtwale, foster brother of DRC’s President, takes over the Board of the BGFI DRC and becomes Chief Executive Officer of BGFI RDC.

Francis Selemani Mtwale

2012 – October :

Jean-Jacques Lumumba joins BGFI RDC.

2016 – February:

Lumumba is appointed Head of the Credit Department. He starts to notice shady activities the following months.

Jean-Jacques Lumumba

2016 – April:

Lumumba meets the CEO of BGFI DRC, Selemani to alert him of suspicious transactions, including for a Congolese company called EGAL and for the bank account of the Independent National Electoral Commission. Mr Selemani refutes any misbehaviour of the bank and orders Lumumba to stay quiet about the bank activities while threatening him with a gun.

2016 – June 10:

Fearing for his life, Lumumba flees to Europe. He later learns that he was under surveillance from the national intelligence agency to prevent him from leaving the country.

2016 – October 13:

Lumumba resigns officially from his job. Shortly afterwards, agents from intelligence agencies show up at his house but his family is already hidden elsewhere. His family later finds a way out of the country and meets him in Europe.

2016 – October 29:

The Belgian newspaper Le Soir publishes an article on suspicious activities of BGFI DRC with the National Bank of Congo, the Independent National Electoral Commission and private companies. The article is largely based on internal documents disclosed by Lumumba to Le Soir which reveal how the bank is involved in corruption, illegal financing and embezzlement.

2016 – December 15:

The American information outlet Bloomberg publishes a detailed article describing the stranglehold of the DRC President’s family on the economy and business of the country. The different members of his family have shares or control various companies in the mining and banking sectors or other lucrative activities. The article also relates to Lumumba’s story on the BGFI DRC wrongdoings.

September 2016:

US imposes sanctions on top DRC officials [See article]

December 2016:

The European Union imposes sanctions on key members of the Kabila regime. [Read more here and here]

January 2017:

PPLAAF begins working with Lumumba who had found a safe haven abroad.

March 2017:

Lumumba finds employment in the banking industry. He provides documents gathered during his employment at BGFI to PPLAAF. The latter begins to investigate bank transfers with investigative journalists at the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Le Monde.

May 2017:

The European Union imposes new sanctions against a further 9 people of the Kabila regime. [See article]

June 2017:

US government imposes targeted sanctions on specific people underpinning the Kabila regime including military chief of staff, the army and police. [Read article]

2 - Inside the Lumumba Papers

SELAMANI's reaction to LUMUMBA blowing the whistle about EGAL's banking activities was particularly violent. PPLAAF, then, opted to focus on EGAL bank accounts using two bank statements. Alongside OCCRP and Le Monde, PPLAAF used forensic researchers to discover a network of companies and businessmen closely associated with Kabila and integrally embedded in his ventures.

Two bank statements from a Congolese company called Entreprise Générale d'Alimentation (EGAL) are particularly relevant as mass flows of money are sent out of the country.

Entreprise Générale d'Alimentation (EGAL)


EGAL is meant to be a company specialized in the production, transformation, transport and conservation of alimentary products, including from the fishing industry.

According to the 2014 report of EGAL’s auditors, EGAL enjoys tax exoneration for its imported products:

  • Letter DGDA/DG/DRF/DG/2014/0124 from the Customs authorities dated January 24, 2014 which exonerates all imported products by EGAL from any tax. The letter says that all products imported by EGAL from Namibia are automatically recognised as from DRC.
  • Government letters 032/CAB/MIN/PL.SMRM/2014 and 036/CAB/MIN/FIN/2014 dated May 12th, 2014, give full fiscal exoneration to EGAL. EGAL does not pay taxes for customs duties, taxes on benefits nor profits and land taxes.

EGAL is administered by a board composed of:

  • Albert YUMA, head of the federation of companies in Congo, Chairman of the GECAMINES (public company dealing with mining industries) and Chairman of TEXICO, a company selling military equipment to the State and which is a shareholder of EGAL. He lives in Kinshasa.
  • Eric MONGA, close to KABILA, he does not hold any position any more within EGAL as he had an argument with KABILA’s brother. He resides in Lubumbashi (DRC).
  • Marc PIEDBOEUF. He is also the Director General of EGAL and is the Administrator of KABILA’s farm “Ferme Espoir”. He is a Belgian citizen but his registered address is in Kinshasa. PIEDBOEUF is a good friend of BGFI’s Director SELEMANI
  • Alain WAN. He is the director of MW AFRITEC, a Congolese company specialized in construction. He has both Belgian and Congolese nationalities.

WAN and PIEDBOEUF are involved in opaque companies worldwide.

According to EGAL’s bank statements, the company has no income (however the company has bank accounts in two other banks), except from loans given by the bank and by the Central Bank of DRC:

  • On November 23rd, 2013, EGAL received through three instalments, $42,9 million from the Central Bank which is a violation of article 6 of the bill creating the Central Bank as the Central Bank is not supposed to give loans to a private company.
  • Throughout the year 2013, the bank gave to EGAL different loans totalling $42,964,583. This bank is under the supervision of members of the Presidential clan and conducts many illegal operations.

Central Bank Transfers to EGAL

EGAL bank statements show where the company wires money. Most of the expenses are paid to companies abroad:

SAMAKI (PTY) LTD:

Between July 2013 and July 2015, EGAL sent to this company $22,770,970.

Example transfer from EGAL to Samaki

This company is based in Windhoek, Namibia. The Board of Directors include powerful Namibian business women and men, and people from EGAL or KABILA’s inner circle. According to Samaki registration document, all of them except the last one, were appointed on July 17th, 2013 (same month as the creation of EGAL):

  • Martha NAMUNDJEBO-TILAHUN, Namibian citizen, based in Windhoek. She is one of the most powerful persons in Namibia with alleged direct links to the political party in power. She is the main owner of the company called UNITED AFRICA GROUP (PTY) LTD which used to post on its website vacancies at SAMAKI.
  • Haddis TILAHUN, Ethiopian citizen, based in Windhoek, husband of Martha.
  • Eric MONGA
  • Albert YUMA
  • Marc PIEDBOEUF

SAMAKI is meant to sell to EGAL horse mackerels, but vessels used by EGAL also transport other goods, such as wild animals. [SAMAKI Registration document]



AFRICAN TRADING MAINTENANCE AND DEVELOPMENT LTD

Between July 2013 and July 2015, EGAL wired to this company $9,975,716.

Example transfer from EGAL to ATMD

This company was incorporated on April 18th, 2012 as a Private company in Hong-Kong (registration number 1731179).

The directors of this company are:

  • Raphael, Jean, Philippe PIEDBOEUF (his filiation to Marc PIEDBOEUF is unknown for the moment). He is meant to reside in 7 rue Carlier, 4000, Liège, Belgium.
  • Alain WAN.

Both are shareholders of the company, also with Marc PIEDBOEUF.
[ATMD Registration document]

PPLAAF did not manage to gather more information on the activities conducted by this company.



ALL OCEAN LOGISTICS

Between July 2013 and July 2015, EGAL wired to this company $4,989,424.

Example transfer from EGAL to AOL

This company is incorporated in the Faroe Islands (Undir Bryggjubakka 21, 110 Torshavn, Faroerne). The manager of this company is André, Grégory WAN (born in 1983), Alain WAN’s son. His registered address is in Belgium.

This company owns EL NINO, a container vessel with refrigerator capacity, is used by EGAL to import fish from Namibia. The boat frequently moves between the Boma harbor (DRC) and Walvis Bay (Namibia). It also goes once a year in the Netherlands.
[AOL Registration document]



Considering the intensive presence of PIEDBOEUF and WAN, PPLAAF and its partners decided to conduct investigations on their companies.

3 - The Wan and Piedboeuf Galaxy

at the service of the President?

Alain Wan and/or Marc Piedboeuf have shares in several Congolese and foreign companies;

MW AFRITEC

Wan's Quarry

MW AFRITEC MARHALL ISLANDS

  • This company owns the Enigma XK a 72 meters luxury boat which was refitted in La Rochelle (France). It is now mooring in Cape Town in South Africa. For €275,000 a week it can take its guests everywhere in the World, including in the South Pole
    Video of the boat
    Leaflet of the boat

the Enigma XK

ALL OCEAN LIGISTICS

  • This company is based in the Faroe Islands and owns a vessel called El Nino which transports frozen mackerel from Namabia’s Samaki to Boma or Matadi in DRC.
    [AOL Registration document]
  • El Nino also transports wild animals from Namibia to Ferme Espoir in DRC.

FERME ESPOIR

  • Ferme Espoir belongs to Joseph Kabila and is run by Marc Piedboeuf.
    [see Document]
  • Ferme Espoir is the only owner of the Société des Grands Elevages, which was sold to Jospeh Kabila by Marc Piedboeuf and Alain Wan.
  • Kabila wants to make Ferme Espoir into a Game park, like the ones which exist in South Africa.
  • EGAL buys the wild animals and ships them on El Nino Ferme Espoir in DRC. In MAY 2017 for example, the El Nino moved 450 plains antelope, including giraffes, Burchell’s zebras, blue wildebeest, waterbuck, oryx, lechwe and hartebeest antelopes - to Matadi.
    [See invoices and shipment documents here, here and here.]

Example customs form for shipped animals