Congo to publish Gertler mining deal - finance ministry

December 01, 2022 07:09 PM AEDT | By Reuters
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(Reuters) - The Democratic Republic of Congo will publish on Thursday a dispute settlement deal with Dan Gertler, an Israeli businessman under U.S. sanctions, the Congo finance ministry said.

The deal, which was due to be published last Friday, is now expected around 10:00 a.m. Kinshasa time (0900 GMT).

A failure to publish the deal could hamper the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) third review of its financial and governance reform programme for Congo, which, if approved later this month, will release a further $200 million in budget support for the central African country.

The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Gertler and more than 30 of his businesses in December 2017 and June 2018, accusing him of leveraging his friendship with former Congo President Joseph Kabila to secure lucrative mining deals.

Gertler has denied any wrongdoing.

Congo's presidency in February announced an out-of-court agreement with Gertler's Ventora Development to end its dispute over valuable mining and oil contracts. Ventora will give control of the assets back to the state, the presidency said, without giving details of the deal.

"The authorities have made a commitment in their IMF-supported economic programme, and in line with EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) standards, to publish all new mining contracts," Gabriel Leost, the IMF's representative for Congo, told Reuters.

"This commitment applies to all contracts, including renegotiated contracts, as they involve asset movements... that have and will have impacts on the government's financial position and on government revenues."

The deal's publication was delayed because the government needed to take U.S. concerns into account, given the sanctions, a finance ministry official told Reuters.

"The country has no interest in interrupting the program with the IMF," the official said, declining to be named.

(Reporting by Sonia Rolley; Editing by Helen Reid and Uttaresh.V)


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