Did you know your tax dollars are subsidizing corrupt bureaucrats in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)? Instead of subsidizing millions of dollars in theft, fraud and unpaid taxes, the US should support civil society which is demanding transparency and good governance. Pouring US tax dollars down the drain doesn’t help us, and it doesn’t help the people of DRC who demand accountability.
Constituents of California’s 11th district (Sen. Boxer and Feinstein, Rep. Miller) stood up with Africa Faith & Justice Network and signed the petition below after a talk by AFJN’s Policy Analyst, Jacques Bahati, on March 2nd.
Will you join us? Click here to personalize, mail the petition and send this message: no more free rides for corrupt government officials!
Dear (Sen. Boxer and Feinstein, Rep. Miller)
Greetings! Thank you for the work you are doing for our country and our state. We the undersigned have gathered today on this 2nd day of March in Lafayette Orinda, California as part of our on-going advocacy for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
You are aware of the financial challenges our country faces particularly the hardship of the unemployed. As much as we support aid to developing nations, we want to call your attention to aid given to dictatorial regimes in Africa which instead of helping the people strengthens these oppressive regimes.
For example, why should we send our hard earned money to the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) government when it mismanages the nation’s resources? With Dodd Frank law section 1502, we have been able to help stop most of the conflict mineral trade from eastern DRC which financed rebel groups. The European Union is considering a similar measure. Let us follow the same path by supporting good governance policies such as democracy, transparency and fighting against impunity.
On August 22, 2013, the Congolese government commissioned an investigation of reported unpaid taxes, fines, corruption and fraud in Lubumbashi in mineral rich Katanga province. These cases represent a total of $3.7 billion and according to the report, named after the lead investigator Mr Nyandu, 25 out of 277 cases examined are worth $741 million. This is outrageous for a nation whose 2014 budget is a little less than $9 billion.
Furthermore, we are writing in support of Public Law No: 113-76, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, Sec. 7042, l (1) which says no money should be given to Rwanda “unless the Secretary of State certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Rwanda is taking steps to cease political, military and/or financial support to armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including M23” We urge you to take the same measures for Uganda for its role in the destabilization of the Congo.
Finally we believe that the way forward in DRC is institutional reforms. Why should American tax payers subsidise corruption in DRC through aid? The lack of these forms is the reason why the war and underdevelopment persist in this exceedingly rich nation. More aid alone is not and has been proven not to be the answer. To ensure the gains made recently are not lost we are advocating for:
1. the full implementation of US Public law 109-456 section 102 by specifically making sure:
- President Kabila respects the constitutional presidential term limit by not seeking a third term.
- Tie funding to specific benchmarks such as the establish the mixed court to try crimes committed in DRC as suggested by the UN Mapping report published in 2010.
2. In coordination with our European friends and donors to DRC, tie further aid to DRC to the implementation of the following recommendations of the Nyandu report:
- The immediate recovery of the 741 million,
- An investigation of the remaining 252 cases and
- Extension of such investigations to other provinces.