Press Release / / 08.14.18

New Report: DR Congo’s Efforts to Counter Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Found Inadequate

Congo’s rampant illicit finance problems put the international financial system at risk, as corrupt actors and criminals take advantage of the country’s weak law enforcement

Washington, D.C. – A new report published today by The Sentry reveals that the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s efforts to counter money laundering and terrorist financing are inadequate. The report comes at a crucial time as the Action Group Against Money Laundering in Central Africa (GABAC), a regional expert group, conducts an assessment this week of Congo’s ability to combat money laundering and terror financing.

The report, “A Window for Kleptocrats: Weak AML/CFT framework implementation in DR Congo creates money laundering and terrorist financing opportunities,” points out that Congo’s rampant illicit finance problems put the international financial system at risk, as corrupt actors and criminals take advantage of the country’s weak law enforcement, inadequate legal framework, and largely cash-based economy to launder money.

Josh White, Director of Policy and Analysis at The Sentry, said: “The findings of The Sentry’s assessment underscore the need for Congolese authorities to take serious action to combat money laundering and terrorist financing in their financial system.  If Congo hopes to maintain access to the international financial system, it is incumbent on Congolese authorities to bolster their efforts to take serious action on the recommendations of this report. Banks around the world who do business with Congo should take special note of our findings, and urge their Congolese counterparts to work with the country’s authorities to do better.”

Sasha Lezhnev, Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “Systemic corruption continues to eat at the Congolese state’s ability to effectively serve its people, as well as fueling violent conflict. Several key reforms are needed to combat this, but the most important is for private sector and other stakeholders to hold the Congolese authorities responsible for addressing the inadequacies and lack of implementation of these laws.”

The report urges GABAC to conduct a thorough evaluation to ensure that Congo receives the necessary guidance, and that the international financial system is made aware of pertinent risks. The report also recommends that the Congolese government take concrete steps toward strengthening its AML/CFT (anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism) regime, including:

  1. Risk Assessment: Congo needs to conduct a new risk assessment. The last assessment was conducted 15 years ago, and it is difficult for any country to address its own risks and issues without knowing exactly what they are. The risk assessment—if thorough and permitted to address difficult topics —could serve as a roadmap for the government to begin addressing its AML/CFT regime’s shortfalls in an organized and comprehensive manner.
  2. Empower the financial intelligence unit: Strengthen the financial intelligence unit with the resources and independence to carry out its mission of investigating financial crimes. Ensure that financial intelligence unit  has the resources and expertise it needs to conduct investigations and collaborate with law enforcement and the judiciary to bring cases to prosecution.
  3. Legal Framework: Close the gaps within the legal framework to meet global standard recommendations for AML/CFT laws.  Such measures should include banning anonymous bank accounts, increasing monitoring for accounts owned by senior members of the government, ensuring bank records are kept electronically, enacting stronger customer due diligence measures with wire transfers, and establishing basic correspondent banking customer due diligence requirements.
  4. Guidance to Banks: For banks operating in Congo, issue guidance on AML/CFT recommendations and encourage banks to file suspicious activity reports. Include guidance on money laundering typologies related to the mining and oil industries.
  5. International assistance: With regard to the first three steps, Congo should request assistance on these actions from the international community. The IMF and World Bank, the Financial Action Task Force, and international partners have the resources and expertise to assist in meeting these objectives.

Click here to read the full report.

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, +1 310-717-0606,


The Sentry is composed of financial forensic investigators, policy analysts, and regional experts who follow the dirty money and build investigative cases focusing on the corrupt transnational networks most responsible for Africa’s deadliest conflicts. By creating a significant financial cost to these kleptocrats through network sanctions, anti-money laundering measures, prosecutions, and other tools, The Sentry aims to disrupt the profit incentives for mass atrocities and oppression, and creates new leverage in support of peace efforts and African frontline human rights defenders. The Sentry’s partner, the Enough Project, undertakes high-level advocacy with policy-makers around the world as well as wide-reaching education campaigns by mobilizing students, faith-based groups, celebrities, and others. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is an initiative of Not On Our Watch (NOOW) and the Enough Project. The Sentry currently focuses its work in South Sudan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and the Central African Republic.

In less than two years, The Sentry has created hard-hitting reports and converted extensive research into a large volume of dossiers on individuals and entities connected to grand corruption, violence, or serious human rights abuses. The investigative team has turned those dossiers over to government regulatory and law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and around the world, as well as to compliance officers at the world’s largest banks.

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