U.S. financial regulator investigates Mozambique’s bond scandal
This week, Mozambique’s tuna bond scandal saw a new development. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is now investigating the sale of $850 million in bonds. The SEC has contacted bondholders, requesting the documents provided by Credit Suisse, VTB and BNP Paribas—the Swiss, Russian, and French financial institutions that facilitated the sale of the bonds—during the sale of the bonds. The SEC also asked investors to provide all bond-related communications to and from the banks. The SEC is not the first national financial regulator to investigate the issue as the British and Swiss regulators became involved in the issue last June.
In other banking news, three Société Générale executives were arrested in Equatorial Guinea for allegedly leaking financial documents with the aim to use them in the upcoming corruption trial of the country’s vice president in Paris. Teodoro Obiang, the eldest son of Persistent Obiang and vice president of Equatorial Guinea, is set to stand trial starting January 2 at the International Court of Justice for using public funds to acquire real estate, luxury cars, and other lavish goods.
Nigeria scores victories against both corruption and Boko Haram
President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign against corruption continues as earlier this week the Nigerian government purged its payroll of about 50,000 ghost workers. This is not the first mass removal of ghost workers from the federal tab: In late February the government announced the removal of 23,846 ghost workers. This latest purge is estimated to save the government about 200 billion naira ($635 million). In addition to these anti-corruption efforts, the government is creating incentives for whistleblowers, last week promising both protection for them and potential rewards of up to 5 percent of recovered funds based on their information.
While the government is seeing victories against corruption, the progress made in the war against Boko Haram is much more unclear. Earlier this week the government announced that Boko Haram has been routed from “Camp Zero,” their stronghold in Sambisa Forest, with over 1200 suspected terrorists arrested. This victory comes just as the deadline of one of Buhari’s major electoral promises arrives: the defeat of Boko Haram by December 31.
Recent statements by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, however, question the government’s claim of his defeat. In a video released not long after the raid, Shekau stated, “We are safe. We have not been flushed out of anywhere.” The government has dismissed this video as propaganda. Many experts believe that this success, though a major blow to the terrorist group, is not the end, given the group’s wide geographic spread and the large number of leaders and hostages who remain at large. Indeed, the fighting continues as Friday Boko Haram engaged Nigerian soldiers in an early morning battle with largely Boko Haram casualties.
Somalia swears in new parliament as international observers grow weary of election delays
On Tuesday, Somalia swore in 281 new members of parliament. Due to security issues, Somalia was unable to conduct direct nationwide elections, instead, the new members of parliament were elected by 14,000 “special delegates” who have been elected by clan leaders and regional representatives. The elections were marred with allegations of vote buying, violence, and intimidation. Additionally, the international community was particularly worried at the decision by the National Leadership Forum—a group which brings together the federal government of Somalia and the federal administrations in the aim to ensure the country’s successful transition to democracy to add seats in the upper house of the parliament without undergoing a proper constitutional change.
Nevertheless, observers labelled the swear-in ceremony as a great milestone for the country’s peace and stability. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the inauguration and stated that the inauguration “marks further progress in ensuring political stability and security in Somalia.” One of the first tasks of the new parliament is the election of a new Somali president. The elections were set for Wednesday, however, the vote was postponed to January 2017, marking the fourth election delay.