In a report that was published recently, At least $750m paid by companies to the Congo’s tax agencies and state-owned mining company Gecamines disappeared between 2013 and 2015.
The losses deprived the state of funds that should have been used on public services, it added.
Congo is Africa’s top copper producer and the world’s biggest supplier of cobalt, which is used in mobile phones and electric cars. It also produces coltan, diamonds, tin and gold.
The money from mining companies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was diverted over a three-year period, with much of it siphoned off by politically connected insiders at opaque tax agencies, according to the reports.
The findings are significant for Canadian mining companies, which have been major investors in Congo and have given millions of dollars in payments to official agencies and state enterprises in the country.
Under new federal laws, Canadian mining and energy companies must disclose all payments to all levels of governments at home and abroad. Those disclosures, most of them released this year for the first time, show that Canadian companies have paid many millions of dollars to Congolese agencies.
Congo, one of the biggest countries in Africa, is also among the poorest. It is ranked 176 out of 188 countries in the latest United Nations Human Development Report, with 77 per cent of its population surviving on less than $2 a day. More than 40 per cent of its children have stunted growth because of malnutrition. Roads, hospitals and schools are poorly funded and often in terrible condition.