The National Hydrocarbons Company (SNH) has reacted to Glencore’s confession of corruption. The Anglo-Swiss trader admitted before the American and British courts that he paid bribes to the heads of the main oil companies in Cameroon to obtain contracts.
“It is brought to the attention of national and international public opinion that SNH is neither remotely nor closely associated with such practices, which are strictly prohibited by its internal regulations,” said the company’s director-general (ADG) in a statement signed on 30 May. Adolphe Moudiki nevertheless indicates that the American and English authorities have been seized, in order to provide the elements that would establish the veracity of these “allegations”. Administration also promised to inform public opinion “in due course” of the outcome of SNH’s request.
In the US courts, Glencore admitted that between 2007 and 2018 it and its subsidiaries paid approximately $79.6 million to intermediary companies to obtain improper benefits. The aim was to obtain and retain contracts with public and state-controlled entities in West African countries (Nigeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea).
The multinational admitted to concealing bribe payments by entering into false consultancy agreements; paying inflated invoices and using intermediary companies to bribe foreign officials. In Cameroon, Glencore claims to have paid CFAF 7 billion in bribes to senior officials of SNH and Sonara to secure oil contracts.
These revelations led Mr Akere Muna, former president of the Cameroon Bar Association and former vice-president of Transparency International, to refer the matter to the president of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Conac) on 27 May to denounce Glencore Plc’s admission of corrupt practices and the consequences on SNH and Sonara. Mr. Muna pleaded for the Conac to mount a robust investigation into this sordid affair involving two of Cameroon’s most important public enterprises.
For his part, the opposition MP, Joshua Osih, sent on May 27, a motion for resolution to the President of the National Assembly for the establishment of a parliamentary commission of enquiry on this case. His colleague Jean Michel Nintcheu asked for the opening of “in-depth investigations by the Audit Office and the ANIF (National Agency for Financial Investigation.