Press Release / / 08.17.20

The Sentry Welcomes Bipartisan Letter on Reforms and Sanctions in the DRC

The Sentry Welcomes Bipartisan Group of Senators’ Call to Secretaries of State, Treasury to Expand Targeted Sanctions, Focus on Anti-Corruption Reforms in DR Congo 

August 17, 2020 (Washington, DC) – The Sentry welcomes the letter sent by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-ID), Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Chris Coons (D-DE), David Perdue (R-GA), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Senators highlight the “historic opportunity to help address structural challenges in DRC by focusing on corruption and the rule of law.”

Ian Schwab, Director of Regional Policy and Advocacy at The Sentry, said: “This bipartisan letter demonstrates congressional leadership in focusing on the key elements required to dismantle the DRC’s systemic corruption and promote reform efforts. I applaud Chairman Risch (R-ID) and Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Rubio (R-FL), Kaine (D-Va), Cruz (R-TX), Coons (D-DE), Perdue (R-GA), Cardin (D-MD), and Booker (D-NJ) for their commitment to ensuring the DRC’s resources benefit its people.”

Sasha Lezhnev, Deputy Director of Policy at The Sentry, said: “The Senate letter sends a strong message that the United States should use this historic window to help tackle the system of corruption in the DR Congo, starting by using targeted sanctions much more robustly to create consequences for high-level corrupt actors. The U.S. government is rightly supporting anti-corruption reforms but can do more on the sanctions and anti-money laundering front.”

The letter details five main policy areas for the U.S. administration to focus on:

  • Expanding targeted sanctions, particularly against officials and companies involved in high-level corruption and those who are circumventing sanctions.
  • Undertaking anti-money laundering measures, including issuing a money laundering advisory.
  • Making anti-corruption reforms a condition of International Monetary Fund (IMF) non-emergency lending.
  • Addressing the conflict gold trade, including through sanctions against conflict gold traders and by addressing incentives and helping to facilitate negotiations among the governments of the DRC, Uganda, and Rwanda to harmonize gold export taxes.
  • Advancing electoral reform, including addressing corruption and vigilantly monitoring developments.

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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.

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