Burundi news, le 26/11/2009

Quelques extraits


84.      In the DRC, Burundi and Rwanda the Group received several credible reports and testimonies that Burundi is being used as a rear base for FDLR recruitment and support networks. Several FDLR ex-combatants interviewed by the Group in Rwanda stated that they were aware of at least several hundreds of FDLR recruits being recruited in Rwanda and infiltrated through Burundi with the assistance of local traders since 2005. This recruitment has been handled mainly by FDLR officers in the zone of Uvira (DRC), and in particular by Major Mazuru, according to several interviews.
85.      According to one FDLR ex-combatant interviewed separately by two members of the Group in May 2009, the transit routes for this recruitment have remained open during the course of 2009, and that in the first five months of 2009, he had been aware of 150 new recruits arriving in Uvira through Burundi via the Ruzizi plain. Similarly, the Group has obtained further eyewitness accounts as well as confirmation from interlocutors in the DRC and Burundian security services that during the months of July and August 2009, several FDLR elements were observed fleeing FARDC military operations into Burundi.

86.      Between 25 July and 25 August 2009 at least four separate incidents of infiltration of FDLR elements into Burundi took place. Eyewitness and security agencies officials counted 40 personnel in total during these incidents, although the Group believes the figure could be substantially higher. On the basis of these accounts, the Group is of the view that the infiltrations were ordered by the FDLR high command to allow the Uvira sector bases to evacuate important documentation and other material from FARDC operational zones into Burundi
87.      The Group obtained several testimonies that the FDLR maintain a relationship with General Adolphe Nshimirimana, Burundi’s head of intelligence, as well as with top Burundian police officers. This information has been corroborated by several active FDLR elements, regional security agencies, Burundian government officials and civil society members. The Group has also obtained phone records showing thirteen communications between Colonel Agricole Ntirampeba, the chief of staff of Gen Nshimirimana, and Major Mazuru of the FDLR during June 2009 to August 2009. In October 2009, an FDLR liaison officer also confirmed that the FDLR collaborates with Gen Nshimirimana and Col Ntirampeba, especially through the provision of logistical arrangements and medical assistance.
88.      The Group obtained information on the delivery on large numbers of light and small caliber weapons to Burundi during 2008, delivered on special flights at Bujumbura international airport and collected by officials from the Presidency and other security agencies. Burundian security officials have confirmed some of these deliveries which they claim have not been accounted for in official stockpiles.
89.      The Group has hard evidence of an attempted purchase of a cargo of 40,000 Steyer AUG assault rifles and ammunition officially for the Burundian police and organised by a Burundian delegation which travelled to Malaysia. The Group estimates that such an arms consignment for the Burundian police is excessive, given that the numbers of the Burundian police count no more than 20,000. The Group has repeatedly sought further clarifications from the Malaysian authorities on this consignment and had received no substantive reponse at the time of submission of this report. The Group has annexed documents related to this consignment (Annex 15)

140.   The Group obtained phone logs of a prominent gold dealer in Bujumbura, Mr Mutoka Ruganyira, who is believed to be also trading in FDLR gold (see paragraphs 142 to 155 for a full explanation of Mr Mutoka’s activities). Mr Mutoka’s phone logs show 60 phone communications between himself and Mr Kumar in Dubai between April and July 2009 and four calls between himself and Mr Vaya in Kampala during the same period. Mr Mutoka and Mr Vaya acknowledged they are old associates and worked together in the gold business in Burundi before Mr Vaya left the country to concentrate his business in Uganda. Mr Mutoka informed the Group that he had been in contact with Mr Vaya because Mr Vaya facilitated money transfers on his behalf. Mr Vaya denied having any ongoing business relationship with Mr. Mutoka. The Group obtained receipts showing Mr Vaya purchasing almost 50,000 US dollars in flight tickets between May and June 2009 for associates travelling between Entebbe, Bujumbura, Nairobi and Mumbai. (Annex 44). Mr Vaya has been unable to explain what these flight tickets were purchased for.

South Kivu-Burundi& Tanzania networks
142.   Based on evidence gathered of numerous purchases of gold from trading networks and mining areas that are controlled by the FDLR and FRF in several different locations of South Kivu, the Group is of the view that most of this gold is smuggled across from South Kivu to Burundi where it is sold to Mr Mutoka Ruganyira at his office in Bujumbura, according to Burundian and Congolese government officials, local NGOs and FDLR and FRF ex-combatants and affiliates. Mr Mutoka was cited by the Group in its December 2008 report (S/2008/773) and is mentioned earlier in this report in paragraph 140.
143.   The Group received numerous testimonies from DRC government mining agents and local businessmen that a Bukavu-based trader, known as “Mange”, who at the time of writing was not officially licensed to purchase gold by the government, purcahases large amounts of gold from FDLR held areas in Mwenga, Itombwe, Shabunda and Walungu territories and subsequently supplies Mr Mutoka.
144.   In July 2009, the Group visited the locality of Burhinyi (Walungu territory) and the local market where gold from an FDLR controlled gold mine nearby was being traded. Local officials identified the only trader of gold attending the market as an agent of Mange. The Group also obtained government documents proving that a supplier of Mange, known as Neo Bisimwa, was involved in purchasing gold traded by General Rutambuka Ntabitondeye of Mai Mai PARECO. Gen Ntabitondeye had been issued with an official permit to trade gold in an area of Kalehe territory, South Kivu, that was jointly controlled by the FDLR and PARECO in 2008 (Annex 45).

145.   In the course of the mandate, the Group interviewed government mining agents, small-scale gold traders and other businessmen in Bukavu, who confirmed that Mr Mutoka purchases gold from Mange as well as from another businessman, Evariste Shamamba who runs a gold exporting company Etablissement Namukaya. Mr Shamamba was cited in the Group’s report of December 2008 (S/2008/773) for trading gold from the FDLR, and continues such activities according to numerous testimonies received by the Group in 2009. The Group also obtained an audio recording of Mange acknowledging that he sells his gold to Mr Mutoka. This recording has been archived at the United Nations.
146.   The Group has interviewed two other gold traders based in Bukavu who have been in telephone contact with Mr Mutoka and Mr Mange during the first nine months of 2009, and who stated that Mr Mange purchases gold in order to supply Mr Mutoka on a regular basis. The same traders informed the Group that another trader, Buganda Bagalwa, is a regular supplier to Mr Mutoka. The Group has determined that Mr Bagalwa has been in direct communication with Mr Mutoka more than fifty times between January and August 2009, and more than 150 times with Mr Mange between May and September 2009.

147.   Mr Mutoka’s phone logs also show that he has has been in communication 22 times with Belgium number belonging to Guy Liongola, a gold trader based in Belgium, between January 2009 and September 2009. A previous Group of Experts report (S/2007/423) noted that Mr Liongola imported gold from Mr Shamamba’s company, Etablissement Namukaya.
148.   A gold trader in Minembwe stated to the Group in the course of an interview in July 2009 that he had sold gold obtained from the Hauts Plateaux, including from FRF-controlled areas, and that quantities of gold are transferred from the Hauts Plateaux to Mr Mutoka’s agents in Uvira on a weekly basis. The Group obtained a testimony from an eyewitness who traveled, in early 2009, from Uvira to Bujumbura with an FDLR liaison officer who sold gold to Mr Mutoka in the course of the same trip.
149.   Acoording to several interviews conducted by the Group, Mr Mutoka relies on the protection of top security officials in both Burundi and the DRC. Several sources in Burundi stated that Mr Mutoka benefits from his relationship with governmental officials in customs and security agencies, including General Adolphe Nshimirimana, the director general of the Burundian intelligence services. The phone logs of Mr Mutoka show frequent and regular communications between him and Gen Nshimirimana over a period of several months in 2009. Mr Mutoka acknowledged to the Group having a relationship with Mr Nshimirimana but denied contacting him more than twice every six months (see paragraph 87 for more on Gen Nshimirimana).

150.   The Group analysed the telephone logs of Mr Mutoka between the period of January 2009 through to September 2009 and found evidence of over 270 phone communications between himself and six other gold traders in South Kivu reportedly involved in the illicit gold trade. Mr Mutoka told the Group that the last conversations he had with two such traders, Honore Lukingama Abanta and Mwite Ruganrwa took place in December 2008, in contradiction with the phone logs, and maintained that these traders called him only to check the price of gold. Both traders separately informed the Group that they called Mr Mutoka only to discuss personal matters. The phone contacts between the traders and Mr Mutoka generally coincide on the same days as each other, and shortly before or after Mr Mutoka officially exported gold to the UAE or made calls to Dubai. The Group was informed by other gold traders in South Kivu that Mr Abanta frequently delivers Mutoka gold from the high plateau in South Kivu.

151.   One gold trader interviewed by the Group declared that Mr Abanta was aware of the Group’s visit to Mr Mutoka’s office on 3 September 2009 and the content of the discussions. Two gold traders interviewed in Bukavu in October 2009 also informed the Group they had been given specific instructions by Mr Mutoka not to cooperate with the Experts as the Group was investigating the smuggling of gold into Burundi.
152.   Mr Mutoka nearly exerts monopoly on the entire flow of gold due to his ability to pay slightly above market prices and maintain a web of pre-financing networks operating in Burundi and the DRC. Burundian customs statistics obtained by the Group report that a company called Berkenrode BVBA, which Mr Mutoka has acknowledged owning, exports nearly all the gold exported officially from Burundi. The company exported 912 kilograms of gold, just two kilograms less than the entire declared exportations of Burundi between January 2009 and September 2009. All the gold was declared as exported to the UAE (see Annex 46 and box below for further details).
153.   Mr Mutoka acknowledged that he had changed the name of his company from Gold Link Burundi Trading (GLBT) to Berkenrode BVBA in January 2009. Burundian customs declarations show he actually started exporting under the name Berkenrode BVBA on 16 September 2008, a few days after the Group first met Mr Mutoka in 2008 when he was exporting under the name of GLBT.

154.   The Group obtained a notarised document signed by Mr Mutoka’s daughter, Ms Samra Sefu, reflecting the address of Berkenrode BVBA as 56 Jacobs Jacobsstraat, Antwerp (Annex 47). The Group has also obtained confirmation from Belgian company documents showing that Mr Goetz operates a company called Berkenrode at 56 Jacobs Jacobsstraat in Antwerp (Annex 48), which is directly next door to his gold smelting business, Tony Goetz & Zonen, based at 58 Jacobs Jacobsstraat. Mr Goetz’s attorneys have explained to the Group that his company Berkenrode in Antwerp is called Berkenrode BVBA in its full appellation. The Group subsequently received a letter and documents from Mr Mutoka’s lawyers which show that Berkenrode BVBA is also a company registered in Burundi under Mr Mutoka’s name (Annex 49).
155.   Mr Mutoka informed the Group that he chose Berkenrode BVBA as his company’s name because it was a name he had heard and liked when he visited Belgium. After the Group had explained that it knew the company address was the same address as Mr Goetz’s, Mr Mutoka and Mr Goetz subsequently explained that Mr Mutoka had registered his company at Mr Goetz’s company address in Belgium to take advantage of taxation rates in Belgium, which were preferential to those in Burundi. Subsequently Mr Mutoka’s lawyers wrote to the Group and denied any association with Berkenrode BVBA in Belgium.

156.   Mr Goetz, who has recently registered a new company, AGOR Ltd, at the Dubai Multi Commodity Centre (DMCC), insists that he has no ongoing business relationship with Mr Mutoka, nor does he have any recollection of being contacted by Congolese officials regarding possible gold consignments from Glory Minerals, referred to in paragraph 130 above.
157.   During the Group’s first meeting in Antwerp in March 2009, Mr Goetz informed the Group that he had not purchased any gold from any source in the DRC or its neighbouring countries for several years. Later in October 2009, Mr Goetz admitted in response to a query by the Group that he had in fact purchased a consignment of 3 kilograms of gold from Mr Mupepele, the director of the CEEC in Kinshasa, who had come personally to his showroom in Antwerp to sell the gold in August 2008. Mr Mupepele told the Group that Mr Goetz had also purchased a second consignment from him by courier, which Mr Goetz acknowledged after several requests from the Group.