« Authorities in at least six countries should investigate suspicious transactions involving two major oil blocks off the coast of Senegal, » Transparency International said on Thursday. Through a press release, the ngo is convinced that given the apparent reluctance of the Senegalese authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and hold those responsible to account, it is essential that the available information be quickly examined by the authorities of the countries that have jurisdiction over this case: Australia, Romania, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.
« In 2019, independent investigations by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and BBC Africa Eye revealed previously unknown details surrounding the 2012 sale of concession rights to the Deep St. Louis and Deep Cayar offshore blocks, located off the coast of Senegal, » the paper notes. It adds that these revelations implicate the current president of Senegal, Macky Sall, his brother, Aliou Sall, and the son of the former president.
The reports accuse controversial Romanian-Australian businessman Frank Timis of bribing Senegalese officials to gain access to lucrative oil and gas reserves on extremely favorable terms.
« The Senegalese people deserve transparency and integrity in the management of their natural resources. These oil and gas reserves have the potential to transform Senegal and lift millions out of poverty. Yet they were sold to a convicted felon who allegedly lied repeatedly to communities and investors, while engaging in dubious business dealings with public officials, » said Birahim Seck, coordinator of Forum Civil, the national chapter of Transparency International in Senegal.
« The Senegalese public is being deprived of billions in potential royalties from the natural resources that belong to them, » he said.
For his part, Ádám Földes, legal advisor to Transparency International, said that « only by opening investigations in other jurisdictions will they get the justice they deserve.
In the United States, for example, Transparency International has asked the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to determine whether Kosmos Energy and BP violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which prohibits U.S.-listed companies from paying bribes to foreign officials, according to the same source.
The source said the case should also prompt the U.S. Congress to crack down on the « demand » for bribing foreign officials by passing the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (FEPA). The FEPA would make it a crime for a foreign official to demand or accept any bribe that has a substantial impact on U.S. commerce.