The Democratic Republic of Congo has signed an “amicable agreement with the Ventura Group of Israeli businessman Dan Gertler” to end the legal dispute between them and allow the country to reclaim some assets, the government has announced.
“In accordance with the instructions of the President of the Republic, this agreement allows the Congolese state to recover the disputed mining and oil assets of the Ventura group. This is a historic first for the country, which is thus reclaiming assets whose sale had been called into question,” DRC’s presidential communication service said on Friday.
“The Congolese state will therefore revalue these assets for the exclusive benefit of the population.”
The deal with Ventura was signed on Thursday.
According to the government, the blocks and assets to be reclaimed are valued at more than $2 billion.
The deal also allows the country to recover a substantial part of the royalties from the Kamoto Copper Company (KCC), also owned by Dan Gertler.
However, nothing has been said about royalties from the Mutanda Mining and Metalkol projects in the south east of the country, estimated by NGOs to be worth more than $600 million.
Gertler, an Israeli businessman, is still under US sanctions after being accused of corruption.
In March 2021, Washington reinstated sanctions against the tycoon who made his fortune in the mining sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Peter Pham, former US Special Envoy for the Sahel and Great Lakes Region, has said that the DRC-Gertler agreement should be made public.
“It should be recalled that Mr Gertler remains sanctioned by the US and any financial or commercial settlement with this targeted individual that violates the restrictions imposed by the US Treasury would not advance our privileged partnership with the DRC.
“I hope that in the name of good governance and transparency, the terms of this agreement with Mr Gertler will be published as civil society in the DRC and around the world has rightly requested.”
Gertler had been in the sights of the US authorities since 2017. Some local NGOs accuse him of “plundering the wealth of the Congolese subsoil”.
Original story on The East African