February 19, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) — Fertilizers, petroleum products, and other commodities are at the heart of a massive loan scheme that allegedly reaped fortunes for figures connected to deposed Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir, according to a new investigative report released today by The Sentry, an investigative and policy team co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast.
The Sentry’s report, “Loan Wolves: Debt Scams Threaten Sudan’s Democratic Transition and Fragile Economy,” reveals how Badr Overseas Group, an import-export company established by Bashir’s adopted son and his business partner, secured multiple contracts to trade in essential consumer commodities at inflated prices. The Badr deals were financed using lines of credit extended to the country by the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB), a multilateral, treaty-based development financial institution with assets of over $5.6 billion.
Dr. Suliman Baldo, Senior Advisor at The Sentry, said: “Under the regime of deposed President Bashir, multiple forms of institutional corruption were allowed to thrive, ultimately devastating Sudan’s economy. The regime granted monopolies to parasitic companies linked to powerful officials and security sector corporations, enabling them to import strategic commodities at inflated prices and with generous tax breaks and customs advantages. Unless there is major institutional reform, the capture of state business for private profit will likely continue, hampering economic reform efforts by the civilian-led government. Governments and banks around the world must press for transparency and accountability in the management of Sudan’s natural resources and revenues.”
John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “The nefarious activities of Badr Overseas Group show how regime insiders and their networks amassed fortunes, taking advantage of corruption and impunity under the Bashir regime. The systems that enabled this looting remain largely intact, and the chief profiteers continue to jockey for power today. Countering this entrenched corruption will aid the prospects for sustainable economic development and democratic progress in Sudan. Economic pressure and engagement by the international community can bolster the current government’s urgently needed efforts toward reform.”
The Sentry further details in the report an array of business schemes and frauds over many years involving Sudan’s defense, security, and police forces. According to the report, elements within the Sudan Armed Forces, the National Intelligence and Security Services, the National Police, and the Rapid Support Forces, a notoriously violent security force responsible for repeated atrocities against civilians, allegedly developed vast business empires and continue to enjoy exemptions from government taxes and other dues, as corrupt officials stashed their profits abroad.
The report and its findings are based on extensive interviews, documentary research, and financial forensic analysis undertaken by The Sentry.
Selected report highlights:
Key recommendations from the report:
The Sentry is making the following key recommendations in the wake of its investigation. The complete list of recommendations is detailed at the end of The Sentry’s report.
Government of Sudan:
Foreign governments and international financial institutions:
Banks and other financial institutions:
Read the full report “Loan Wolves”: https://eno.ug/loan-
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ABOUT THE SENTRY
The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. By disrupting the cost-benefit calculations of those who hijack governments for self-enrichment in East and Central Africa, the deadliest war zone globally since World War II, we seek to counter the main drivers of conflict and create new leverage for peace, human rights, and good governance. The Sentry is composed of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers, and regional experts, as well as former law enforcement agents, intelligence officers, policymakers, investigative journalists, and banking professionals. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is a flagship initiative and strategic partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.
Learn more at www.TheSentry.org.