This video is called Greenpeace investigation trip to Congo.
Conning the Congo
30 July 2008
Africa — Just as the need to save the world’s forests for climate protection is becoming widely recognised, we have discovered that major logging companies – operating in the Congo basin – are increasingly destroying one of the most ecologically important forest areas on the planet while dodging taxes and robbing impoverished Congolese people of revenue.
The Congo basin contains the world’s second largest tropical forest and is of incalculable importance not only in terms of biodiversity and resources for local people but also as a giant carbon store that is essential for climate protection. Yet over 25 percent of this precious ecosystem is controlled by the logging industry with the majority in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo – two countries suffering from endemic corruption.
In a new report “Conning the Congo”, published today, we expose how companies like the German-Swiss Danzer group are cheating the people in this region out of vast amounts in tax revenue every year.
How are they getting away with it?
Danzer have set up an elaborate profit laundering system whereby their Swiss subsidiary company (Interholco AG) buys timber from its African sister companies (Siforco and IFO) at way below the market price and then makes up the shortfall by depositing money in offshore bank accounts. In doing so the Danzer Group evades paying a wad of corporate tax and export duties.
This unscrupulous behaviour appears to be indicative of the entire logging industry operating in the area – exacerbating the problem of illegal logging and cheating one of the poorest regions of the world out of millions of euros each year. We have calculated that the loss to these governments from the Danzer Group alone could be nearly eight million Euros. This is equivalent to the cost of vaccinating over 700,000 Congolese children under the age of five or 50 times the DRC Ministry of Environment’s annual operating budget.
Update October 2008: here.
Deforestation has fallen in Congo Basin countries over the past decade despite a sharp increase in the rate of forest clearing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to a new study published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B as part of a set of 18 papers on the region’s tropical forests: here.
Dead wood vital for UK wildlife: here.
- Illegal logging ravages DR Congo forests (congoayuk.wordpress.com)
- The lengths illegal wood will travel (greenpeace.org)
- Deforestation Slows in Congo Basin (voanews.com)
- Rwanda Denounced for Supporting Congolese Rebels as Fighting Resumes (guardianlv.com)
- DR Congo: M23 Rebels Kill, Rape Civilians (hrw.org)
- Logging slows in Africa’s rainforest (bbc.co.uk)
- Has the EU fallen for logging scam? (bbc.co.uk)
- 66,000 Congolese refugees flee into Uganda (sudantribune.com)