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Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Mobutu's millions...

BBC News reported yesterday that Swiss banks are planning to give some of the stolen cash back to the DRC. I think they should not give the cash back as the Kinshasha Government want. Whatever amount the Swiss are planning to give up, it should be given back as infrastructure spend.

Incidentally if Swiss Banks were told that any money they give back would be in form direct infrastructure, they would probably be more willing to give back the whole lot. The Swiss are not stupid - like everyone else they probably suspect that handing millions back to a corrupt Government would not actually make any difference on the ground. It'll simply move from the late Mobutu account to a new mini Mobutu's account. Its Kabila's dad who after all said "all it takes to start a war in Africa is $10,000 and a satelite phone".

2 comments:

  1. Interesting thought and observation. It's certainly a good idea but what worries me is that our leaders cannot be trusted with such kind of resources and hence Africa always need "big brother" namely the west, to regulate when and how we spend our resources or in this case Mobutu's stolen money.

    Do you think that if this strategy was adopted maybe FTJ would also be willing to give back some of his alledged stolen money in the form of infrastructure? Maybe it would bring an end to this judicial circus we're in right now. Just a thought.

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  2. "what worries me is that our leaders cannot be trusted with such kind of resources and hence Africa always need "big brother" namely the west, to regulate when and how we spend our resources or in this case Mobutu's stolen money."

    Actually it is worse than that. Its not just the leaders. Its actually an institutional problem. Africa has weak institutions. Imagine a morally upright married man who finds himself on an island with plenty of single ladies. Sooner or later he'll succumb.

    What is needed is to ensure the man never gets on the island or atleast goes to the island with his wife and she stays with him. So it is the same in Africa. We have no clear rules or institutions that make it difficult for people to act right.
    Zaire for example has a constitution that gives too much power to the President. The police also cannot be prosecuted as well. There's a lot of loop holes.

    The reason western leaders behave properly is because they have good institutions that ensure that they do. This should be our focus I think.

    "Do you think that if this strategy was adopted maybe FTJ would also be willing to give back some of his alledged stolen money in the form of infrastructure? Maybe it would bring an end to this judicial circus we're in right now."

    Very good question.
    I am not sure because unlike the Swiss banks, Chiluba could be prosecuted if he admitted stealing.

    What needs to happen is Chiluba to be guaranteed immunity from prosecution BEFORE he admits anything. Then he'll be free from fear of imprisonment. I think afterwards he would then agree to putting the money towards infrastructure...but I doubt that even after immunity he would just give the money back to the state. What is highly possible is that a Chiluba free from prosecution would most likely agree to spend it on Luapula province...

    Assuming he has stolen anything..and we don't know that for sure - under Zambian law of course...

    ReplyDelete

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