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What kind of home can you get as an African agriculture minister with a 60k salary? If you're the son of an African leader running an oil-rich country, apparently you can afford a Malibu mansion. The UK-based anti-graft watchdog, Global Witness, recently outed the son of President Obiang of Equitorial Guinea, who purchased a $35 million California home this spring, complete with 16 acres, a golf course, tennis court and a swimming pool.
Recently DfID, the British aid agency, issued the third White Paper in its series on Eliminating World Poverty, this one focused on Making governance work for the poor. Yesterday I was privileged to join a panel at the IMF where Mark Lowcock, DfID's Director General for Policy and International, gave an overview of the immensely ambitious and wide ranging Paper and the rationale for the commitments it makes.
According to Reuters, two anti-corruption campaigners have been arrested in Congo-Brazzaville, allegedly for embezzling funds. If true, it is disturbing that people tasked with overseeing fiscal transparency are themselves involved in fraud, and bodes poorly for Congo’s chances of breaking its cycle of wasting public money.
After a bitter fight between the World Bank's board of directors and Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, Congo-Brazzaville was allowed to reach decision point in the HIPC program on March 9. The deal was almost held up after reports that Congo’s President Denis Sassou-Ngueso spent $300k at a New York hotel, but this scandal wasn’t enough to convince debt relief diehards that Congo wasn’t perhaps the most worthy recipient
In a Sunday Times of London report concerning a lavish jaunt to New York last fall to deliver a 15 minute speech at the UN, the spotlight was on Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso. Recently chosen to chair the AU, it has been noted that the President of Congo-Brazzaville spent $295,000 for luxurious accommodations for him and his entourage at the Palace Hotel in New York City.