— Published 6 November 2023

Questionable investment management

Controversy continues to rage in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over the real cost of the last Games of La Francophonie in Kinshasa (28 July to 6 August 2023). The Minister of Finance, Nicolas Kazadi, opened the hostilities by claiming last week that the budget for the sporting and cultural event had increased almost sevenfold, from 48 to 324 million dollars. An analysis report by the Centre for Research in Public Finance and Local Development (CREFDL) broke new ground by revealing serious over-invoicing of the projects selected for the construction or renovation of the competition venues. Its study focused on the investment part. It reports that its budget rose from an initial estimate of 36 million dollars to more than 195 million after 15 contracts were signed for the work. Faced with such an increase, all the contracts were terminated. But in January 2022, the same contractors were again recruited for the same types of work, with a slight reduction in costs, this time bringing the budget to just under 150 million dollars. The report also points out that the investment budget changed significantly in the space of just three months, rising from a forecast of $149.790 million to just over $206 million. It also reveals the abusive use of the direct agreement procedure for all works contracts, i.e. without invitations to tender, and the failure to include 90% of projects in the 2022 and 2023 Finance Acts.