The largest protected tropical rainforest in Africa – Salonga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo – is at risk from oil exploration thanks to a secretive deal with an opaque company.
As we have previously revealed, the Democratic Republic of Congo government is attempting to reclassify swathes of two UNESCO protected World Heritage Sites – Salonga and Virunga National Parks – to allow oil exploration to take place. In our new investigation, we shine a light on the opaque ownership and secret deals of one company that potentially stands to gain from government attempts to open up the area to oil, COMICO, which was allocated an oil block that partially overlaps Salonga National Park.
We expose how individuals involved in the original deal to purchase these controversial oil rights include a politically connected individual, a convicted fraudster, a businessman embroiled in the Brazilian ‘Car Wash’ scandal and mysterious shell companies.
Moreover, the details of the contract remain unknown, in contravention of Congo’s own oil law.