Friday, October 10, 2014

Vice President of Equatorial Guinea Settles Case With Justice Department


Proceeds from sale of some property will benefit the people of Equatorial Guinea

The Second Vice President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo, announced last night that he had reached a settlement with the Justice Department that will end the U.S. government’s efforts to seize his property in the United States and pursue seizure of property he holds outside the United States.

Under the agreement, Mr. Nguema will liquidate his residence in Malibu, California, sell one automobile and two statues, a make a one-time payment of one million dollars. The funds realized will be used for the benefit of the people of Equatorial Guinea through a mechanism to be agreed by both parties.

Mr. Nguema will forfeit to the U.S. government funds in the amount of $10.3 million that are currently in an escrow account. The Department of Justice will not pursue seizure of a private aircraft owned by Mr. Nguema, which is currently outside the country.

The U.S. government’s case had been rejected for lack of probable cause by federal courts, but Mr. Nguema said he decided to settle in the interests of his country.

“I agreed to settle this case despite the fact that the U.S. federal courts had consistently found that the Department of Justice lacked probable cause to seize my property, which was acquired with funds earned in accordance with the laws of my country and through business dealings inside and outside Equatorial Guinea,” Mr. Nguema said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“However, the case had become a significant distraction from my official responsibilities and an unnecessary irritant in the relationship between Equatorial Guinea and the United States.”
He also said that the ability to use funds raised from the sale of the properties for the benefit of the people of Equatorial Guinea was a major factor in his acceptance of the agreement.

“My government has worked tirelessly to create opportunity and improve living standards in Equatorial Guinea. We were once the poorest country in Africa, but we have used our oil resources to produce the highest literacy rate and the highest per-capita government expenditure on health care on the continent, as well as infrastructure that is opening economic opportunities and encouraging initiative and growth,” he said. “I am proud to add the funds from this settlement to the charitable work I have sponsored for many years in Equatorial Guinea.”

Mr. Nguema praised the American justice system, saying that he had “received fair and equitable treatment at every stage of these proceedings by the American justice system. I have found the American courts to be scrupulously fair to me, a citizen of another country who had been presumed guilty of corruption in the press and by some in the United States Congress,” he said.

The text of Mr. Nguema’s statement follows:

Statement by Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, Vice President of Equatorial Guinea
October 9, 2014

This week, I reached an agreement with the United States Department of Justice that ends the Justice Department’s efforts to seize certain of my properties located inside and outside the United States. Under the agreement, I have agreed to sell some assets in the United States, including a residence in Malibu, California, and pay a cash settlement. In return, the United States government has dropped its claims against some of my property. Funds generated through this agreement will be used for the benefit of the people of Equatorial Guinea.

I am pleased to be able to end this long and costly ordeal. I agreed to settle this case despite the fact that the U.S. federal courts had consistently found that the Department of Justice lacked probable cause to seize my property, which was acquired with funds earned in accordance with the laws of my country and through business dealings inside and outside Equatorial Guinea. However, the case had become a significant distraction from my official responsibilities and an unnecessary irritant in the relationship between Equatorial Guinea and the United States.

Like most people in my country and my government, I admire the United States. We consider the United States to be an important partner in our economic and social development and a model for the development of our democracy. For the good of my country, it was important to resolve this matter and put the relationship back on firm footing.

The most important factor that encouraged me to agree to this settlement was the provision requiring the monies from the forfeiture of my property to be used for the benefit of the people of Equatorial Guinea. To that end, this agreement establishes a mechanism to determine the projects to be funded from these assets and to ensure that the funds will be used as intended.

My government has worked tirelessly to create opportunity and improve living standards in Equatorial Guinea. We were once the poorest country in Africa, but we have used our oil resources to produce the highest literacy rate and the highest per-capita government expenditure on health care on the continent, as well as infrastructure that is opening economic opportunities and encouraging initiative and growth. I am proud to add the funds from this settlement to the charitable work I have sponsored for many years in Equatorial Guinea.

I wish to recognize that, despite my fundamental disagreement with the Justice Department’s legal reasoning for this case, I have received fair and equitable treatment at every stage of these proceedings by the American justice system. I have found the American courts to be scrupulously fair to me, a citizen of another country who had been presumed guilty of corruption in the press and by some in the United States Congress. This commitment to equal justice under the law is one of the qualities for which American democracy is rightly admired, and I am grateful to have experienced it.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Equatorial Guinea Wins San Diego Festival Awards

West African Nation assists Foreign Film Producers in finding talent and locations

The first international feature film shot in Equatorial Guinea,Where the Road Runs Out, has won two awards at the San Diego 2014 Film Festival. A local Equatorial Guinea film crew gained important experience by participating in the film.

According to a recent article by IndieWireWhere The Road Runs Out also won Best Feature and was the winner of the San Diego Union Tribune UT Award in a lineup that included You're Not You (Josh Duhamel, Emmy Rossum and Hilary Swank), The Imitation Game (Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley), and Wild (Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern). The feature film shot in Equatorial Guinea has also been selected for the 2014 Heartland Film Festival, which will take place this month. 

Feature scenes of Where the Road Runs Out were filmed in Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and The Netherlands. The film was produced by Dutch production company Firenze Film in conjunction with the Motion Picture Association of Equatorial Guinea (ACIGE). A young Equatorial Guinean film crew participated in the production.

Where the Road Runs Out was directed by South African film maker Rudolf Buitendach and headlined by Ivorian actor Isaach De Bankolé (Casino Royale), winner of a Cesar Award, along with Juliet Landau, daughter of Martin Landau, and Stelio Savante, who starred opposite Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind in 2001. The screenplay was written by David Hughes (A Night at the Museum with McFly).

Equatorial Guinea welcomes film production companies. The country's unspoiled coasts and interior, abundant wildlife, and picturesque cities offer valuable locations, and its modern infrastructure allows for easy transportation of people and equipment. The Motion Picture Association of Equatorial Guinea supports foreign film producers in finding talent and locations and in navigating government requirements.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Obiang Calls For Democratization and End to the “Rule of Force” at the UN


Says interventions by powerful countries have produced conflict and intolerance. Citing his country’s experience, he says countries should democratize at their own pace and with their own traditions.

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo issued a call for democratization of the United Nations today in his address to the 69th United Nations General Assembly, criticizing specifically the role of the Security Council and calling for the “democratization” of the world body.

He noted that the 2014 session of the General Assembly has the responsibility of solving the problems of poverty and hunger in the world; violence and armed conflict; terrorism, piracy and mercenary activities; and the major endemic diseases of the world. He said, however, that he doubted that the UN could seriously hope to solve these problems under its current system.

He said Equatorial Guinea was deeply concerned over the Ebola outbreak in Africa and the growth of terrorism and sectarian conflicts, but said, “The United Nations could never provide a definitive solution to these problems as long as the Security Council is not governed by rules that respect the spirit of democracy and justice …The United Nations could not give a satisfactory solution to these problems as long as the current system of the rule of force subsists in international relations.”

Obiang said his own country had engaged in a long period of popular consultation that has produced a steady movement toward greater democracy as well as peace and development that has raised living standards.

“In Equatorial Guinea, we say that democracy is not an import and cannot be designed from offices in other countries,” he said. “Democracy is formed with the positive values ​​that characterize a society, and only the people are authorized to define the model for their needs and chart the path of development.”

He said that Equatorial Guinea in 1982 adopted a program called of Democratic Experiment in which the citizens themselves, through village councils, participated in the design of its political development. He said the result has been “the current environment of peace, stability and economic prosperity, through successive political reforms.”

Thanks to the peace and political stability that have reigned in the country over the last 30 years, the government has been able to develop the country’s natural resources of the country, allowing it to aspire to become an emergent economy by the year 2020. He gave specific thanks to countries that have assisted Equatorial Guinea in its development: The United States, China, Russia, Brazil, Morocco, Cuba and France.

He contrasted his country’s experience with the experiences of countries that have experienced conflict after outside intervention.

“We need to clearly differentiate what is internal support for a genuine democratic process and what is interference that is done through pressures that result in the misunderstanding, intolerance, exclusion, resentment among citizens,” he said.

“The Republic of Equatorial Guinea is very concerned about the proliferation of acts of intervention that do not respect the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states,” Obiang said. “These interventions interrupt the natural democratic process in the countries concerned and do not take into account the essential features of the idiosyncrasies of these societies, fueling divisions and sociopolitical instability.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Equatorial Guinea Outlines Environmental Plan

Forest conservation, hydroelectric power, and ending the flaring of natural gas form key parts of the strategy.
 
President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea told delegates at the United Nations 2014 Summit on Climate Change that his country has adopted a five-point plan to conserve the natural environment and contribute to global efforts to slow the rate of global warming.

In his address to the Summit, President Obiang said his government had oriented its socioeconomic development policies toward sustainability.

“Equatorial Guinea is a developing country that lives practically thanks to Mother Nature,” he said. “It does not know the problems of environmental degradation and it aspires to the new development technologies that guarantee the people’s well-being.”

He said that the country has adopted a five-point that establishes the basis for a sustainable economy and contributes to the global fight against climate change and its effects. Under the plan, the government of Equatorial Guinea is taking the following steps:

1. Producing electrical energy through a system of hydroelectric and turbo gas generation, using the gas produced by the petroleum industry.


2. Ending the practice of flaring gas into the atmosphere and convert that gas into butane, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other derivatives. He said his government tis negotiating with neighboring countries to absorb the gas that they are currently flaring.

3. Replacing thermal power plants that produce carbon dioxide with hydroelectric plants based in river basins of the country.

4. To conserve ecosystems, Equatorial Guinea has created large natural reserves—Ureka on Bioko Island and Monte Alén on the mainland.

5. “In light of the imminent danger that the excessive use of timber could provoke further desertification,” the government has reduced the exploitation of its forest reserves by 25 percent and requires value-added processing of wood.

“The forestry policy of the government is aimed at protecting endangered species and conserving ecosystems through legal norms that protect species that have been declared in danger of extinction,” he said. The policies on forests and natural areas are in line with the recommendations of the Central African Forest commission (COMIFAC).


Monday, September 22, 2014

President Obiang to Attend UN Climate Change Summit During 69th UN General Assembly


Equatorial Guinea’s President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo will attend the UN Climate Change Summit on September 23, as well as meet with other heads of government and heads of state this week. President Obiang will address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 24.

The Equatorial Guinea delegation, led by President Obiang, will join other Heads of State and Government, Vice Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and their delegations as they discuss their commitments to a UN action plan aimed at placing people at the center of development and consider new population challenges.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, visited Equatorial Guinea earlier this year during the African Union Summit, which was held in the West African Nation. During the Summit, President Obiang and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon dedicated a new UN building, which houses all UN agencies in the country.


Equatorial Guinea Resumes Flights To Neighboring African Countries


Equatorial Guinea has resumed regional flights to neighboring African countries by its national air carrier, Ceiba International, after taking control measures to safeguard public health.

The temporary suspension of the Ceiba International flights was a precautionary measure adopted by the government, but it resumed the flights after it obtained equipment to detect and confront a possible Ebola outbreak. The flights were resumed in order to break the isolation of the affected neighboring countries, which need commercial air service in order to receive supplies and maintain commercial ties with the rest of the continent.

The Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea has invested more than 1 million Euros in the acquisition of healthcare materials, including ambulatory hospitals, ambulances, thermographic cameras for the airports of Malabo and Bata, protection suits, disinfection material, waterproof boots, protection glasses and laser thermometers, among other articles, aimed at confronting a possible Ebola outbreak in the country. Two quarantine areas and specially equipped isolation chambers have also been prepared in the cities of Malabo and Bata.

After verifying the size of the current Ebola outbreak, which has already caused the deaths of some 2,400 persons, the Government of Equatorial Guinea created a special committee for the control and prevention of this disease, and has organized awareness tours on Ebola throughout the entire national territory.

Equatorial Guinea also made a gesture of solidarity to its neighbors earlier this month, when President Obiang announced the donation of 2 million U.S. dollars to the WHO as a grant for the programs to combat Ebola. He made the announcement during the ceremony to present the UNESCO-Equatorial Guinean Prize for Research in Life Sciences. 

Equatorial Guinea Discovers New Gas Well In Bioko Island


Country to expand LNG project

Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy, Gabriel Obiang Mbaga, recently announced the discovery of a new gas well off the coast of the Island of Bioko. The new gas well will allow the ministry to expand the Floating Installation of Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) project in the country.

“I am extremely pleased that the increase in recoverable reserves in Block R, as a result of the drilling of the Silenus East-1 well may result in a potential expansion of the Block R FLNG project from a 2.5mm TPA to a 3.0mm TPA project. We are currently in negotiations to conclude the Block R gas terms and confirm the midstream partners, with the development of the first project of Floating Installation of Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) planned for early 2019.”

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has established the strengthening of the energy sector in Equatorial Guinea as a national priority. Equatorial Guinea LNG Holdings Limited (EG LNG), a national liquefied natural gas company, began operations in 2007 and has shown excellent results.

In the last decade, the West African Nation has become one of the major regional powers in hydrocarbon extraction and processing, leading to an unprecedented economic boom and transformation, which has been noted by the ICE Economic Bulletin. The development of the country’s energy sector plays a mayor role in taking the country closer to become an emergent and sustainable economy by 2020.

The well was discovered by Ophir Energy, which estimates that the Silenus East -1 discovery includes recoverable reserve of 405 bcf (billion cubic feet) of gas, with de-risked prospects for similar prospects in the area. Ophir’s initial assessment is that the recoverable reservoirs in the broader Silenus area, including this discovery, are approximately 1.2 TCF (trillion cubic feet).