AFRICA ENERGY INTELLIGENCE N°677 - 13/06/2012
Caprikat’s assets up for sale?
The death of Augustin Katumba in a plane crash in February deprived explorers Caprikat and Foxwhelp of their leading backer in Congo-K’s leadership. Kinshasa is now actively seeking to replace them.
Also interesting because AH is in Uganda talking to Museveni regarding Uganda's oil sector. Museveni has some pull with the DRC.
13/06/2012 - Africa Intelligence
Heavey holds the upper hand
The chief executive of Tullow Oil has met with Uganda’s president to talk about money and the local business climate on the eve of a crucial decision for the country’s oil sector.
Tullow's Rights Trampled in DRC, Jan 14
"These two blocks were unexpectedly taken away from Irish-based oil group Tullow - which had been awarded the rights in 2006 - and handed to Zuma's companies."
Khulubuse bounces back
Two of the Aurora boss's companies - registered in the British Virgin Islands - are busy with a multibillion-rand oil exploration project in DRC, writes Suthentira Govender.
14 January, 2012 19:40
President Jacob Zuma's nephew Khulubuse always manages to bounce back.
After he was ordered by the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday to pay more than R10-million to Protea Coin Group, a creditor of his mining group Aurora Empowerment Systems, it emerged that two of his other companies, registered in the British Virgin Islands, have started a multi-billion-rand oil exploration project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
British oil industry watchdog group Platform London could not state when the operations in the DRC had started.
Platform, which has repeatedly highlighted various irregularities in the awarding of exploration licences in the central African country, has been monitoring activities of oil companies around Lake Albert on the border of the DRC and Uganda, where more than two billion barrels of reserve have been discovered.
Platform this week said that while it had not focused its investigations on Zuma's companies, Caprikat and Foxwhelp, it was aware of some of their operations.
Platform's Mika Minio Paluello said: "The two companies, Caprikat and Foxwhelp, have begun exploration activities in eastern Congo."
The deal has aroused suspicions, mainly due to high-level political connections involved.
The deal, which also involves President Zuma's lawyer Michael Hulley, is believed to also indirectly involve several ANC politicians.
On Friday Hulley confirmed that Caprikat and Foxwhelp had started exploration operations in the DRC.
"Activities have been ongoing ... and in respect of this project we have partnered with the DRC government," he said.
"If you ask anyone there, they will tell you the area is known for its deposits of oil. But the fact of the matter is that there are certain pre-emptive steps that you need to take. We are busy with those pre-emptive steps."
Two years ago Khulubuse Zuma dismissed inference that his uncle, President Zuma, was personally involved and told Reuters: "He [Hulley] is my legal adviser and he signed because I couldn't sign for both. It is a technical thing."
Reuters reported that, while Zuma had signed with the DRC authorities on behalf of Caprikat, Hulley had signed on behalf of Foxwhelp.
Zuma, through Foxwhelp and Caprikat - both registered in the British Virgin Islands - acquired the rights to two oil concessions in the rich oilfields of Lake Albert in 2010.
Zuma, who paid $6-million in signature bonuses for the two blocks and now stands to make a fortune, was awarded the oil blocks by a presidential decree published in the Congo Journal Officiel in June 2010.
These two blocks were unexpectedly taken away from Irish-based oil group Tullow - which had been awarded the rights in 2006 - and handed to Zuma's companies.
At the time, Tullow declared that it was absurd to give exploration licences in a sensitive environment to a company with no experience.
When Caprikat and Foxwhelp were awarded the permits, DRC President Joseph Kabila reportedly came under fire for undermining investor confidence by his actions.
Tullow took legal action and secured an interim injunction from a high court in the Caribbean to block the reassignment of the concessions.
But, in November 2010, the deal was given the thumbs up by the high court.
Tullow this week said it had withdrawn any further attempts to pursue legal action to block the deal.
Tullow Oil said: "It became clear that Tullow's rights were not likely to be upheld so long as the DRC government maintained its position that it had the right to ignore or revoke the earlier award to Tullow."
Zuma could not be reached for comment.
Tomorrow Zuma is expected to testify in a liquidation inquiry being held before the Master of the High Court in Pretoria to determine what happened to the beleaguered Aurora's mining assets and the money that was meant to be paid to workers.
He is chairman of Aurora, which owes about 700 destitute miners more than R4.5-million in wages at its mines in Grootvlei in Gauteng and Orkney in North West.
The miners have not been paid in two years.
Aurora, which acquired the mines from Pamodzi Gold in October 2009, has been accused by trade union Solidarity of causing the loss of more than 5300 jobs at the mines and of asset stripping.
This week, the Pretoria High Court ordered Zuma, who had a surety agreement for Aurora, to pay the money owed to the Protea Coin Group from his own pocket.
Protea Coin, which provided security services to Aurora at its Grootvlei mine, applied for a liquidation order against Aurora on May 26 2010.
The settlement was made an order of court on July 28 2010.
Protea Coin turned to the high court on Wednesday to force Zuma to pay. The court ruled in its favour.