In October 2002, a United Nations Panel of Experts accused 85 OECD-based companies of violating the Guidelines for their direct or indirect roles in the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Panel alleged that “elite networks” of political and military elites and businesspersons fueled the conflict in order to retain their control over the country’s vast natural resources.
The Panel alleged that in negotiations between the company and the government of DRC to buy the cobalt-rich Kolwezi Tailings, First Quantum offered a down payment of US$100 million, together with cash payments and shares held in trust for government officials. The Panel referred to documents in its possession showing that the payment list included the National Security Minister, the director of the National Intelligence Agency, the Director General of Gécamines, and the former Minister of the Presidency. The premise was that the share price would rise sharply once the deal was publicly announced.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
In February 2004, a representative of OECD Watch is informed of the NCP’s intention to follow-up on the case during a meeting. In the NCP’s 2004 annual report, the case is noted as “closed”. The complainants state the NCP never communicated its decision.
In October 2004, the complainants sent a letter of protest to the NCP, which was supported by Canadian NGO, le Regroupement pour la responsabilité sociale des enterprises.