US embassy cable - 05NDJAMENA402

WAR OF WORDS OVER OIL REVENUE COLLEGE MEMBERSHIP

Identifier: 05NDJAMENA402
Wikileaks: View 05NDJAMENA402 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Ndjamena
Created: 2005-03-17 06:26:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV ECON EPET CD Oil Revenue Management
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

170626Z Mar 05

ACTION EB-00    

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                  ------------------CC6685  170628Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1149
INFO AMEMBASSY ABUJA 
AMEMBASSY BAMAKO 
AMEMBASSY DAKAR 
AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY NIAMEY 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 
AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
USLO TRIPOLI 
USMISSION GENEVA 
C O N F I D E N T I A L  NDJAMENA 000402 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EB, DRL, INR, AF, AF/C, AF/EPS, LONDON AND 
PARIS FOR AFRICAWATCHERS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/14/2015 
TAGS: PGOV, ECON, EPET, CD, Oil Revenue Management 
SUBJECT: WAR OF WORDS OVER OIL REVENUE COLLEGE MEMBERSHIP 
 
 
Classified By: P/E Officer Kathleen FitzGibbon for reasons 1.4 (b) and 
(d). 
 
1.  (C) Summary: Prime Minister Pascal Yoadjimnadji's rebuke 
of comments by the representative of human rights groups on 
the Oil Revenue Management College has touched off 
controversy in N'Djamena.  The Government objected to College 
member Dobian Assingar's statement that new petroleum 
discoveries would be managed in a discriminatory fashion 
because they are not subject to the law establishing the 
revenue management system already in place.  The Prime 
Minister asked the human rights collective in private 
exchanges to select a new representative.  That group refused 
to remove Assingar and hopes that the Government drops the 
issue.  Ambassador Wall expressed our concern to the Prime 
Minister that outsiders would view the Government's request 
as an attempt to undermine the College's independence.  The 
issue seems to be quieting down, but it is too soon to tell 
if the Government is willing to put the matter to rest and 
salvage a graceful exit from "the Dobian Affair".   End 
Summary. 
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
PRIME MINISTER REACTS TO ASSINGAR'S REMARKS 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
2.  (C)  During a Radio France International interview on 
March 2, Dobian Assingar, the representative of human rights 
groups on the Oil Revenue Management College, stated that 
Chad's oil revenue law is discriminatory because it does not 
apply to new oil discoveries.  He called for one law that 
extends the same revenue system to new oil fields.  Prime 
Minister Pascal Yoadjimnadji took exception with Assingar's 
remarks in a front page article in the government-influenced 
newspaper Le Progres on March 3.  According to the Prime 
Minister, one cannot be a member of the Oil Revenue 
Management College and make policy prescriptions or 
disassociate oneself from the organization when speaking 
outside the country.  The Prime Minister also referred to the 
announcement by the Council of Ministers last September, 
which stated that new oil revenues would be managed in the 
spirit of the current mechanism. 
 
3.  (C)  On March 4, Yoadjimnadji met with human rights 
organizations and requested that Assingar be replaced.  The 
President of the Chadian League for Human Rights, Massalbaye 
Tenebaye, refused.  On March 9, Yoadjimnadji sent a letter to 
the collective of human rights organizations again requesting 
that Assingar be replaced as their representative.  He told 
the collective that their representation on the College 
should not be "personalized" and that Assingar's replacement 
would make no difference in their representation on the body. 
 
4.  (C) Yoadjimnadji, in a meeting with Ambassador Wall on 
March 10, explained the Government's position on the "Dobian 
Affair" as the situation is now dubbed in the press.  The 
Ambassador urged the Prime Minister to handle the issue 
discreetly, given the negative implications of the appearance 
that the Government is interfering with the College's 
independence.  Yoadjimnadji claimed that the Government did 
not make the issue public. 
 
5.  (C)  Yoadjimnadji also told the Ambassador that the 
application of the revenue management law must be adaptable 
to the country's situation.  He said that the current fifteen 
percent of revenues dedicated to government operations is not 
enough to meet salary and other needs which were not known 
when the revenue formula was devised.  He maintained that as 
a member of the College, Assingar should not tell the 
Government how to manage the next generation of revenues. 
There would be an appropriate time for the country to debate 
the issue and the Government has given its assurances that 
revenues from the new discoveries would be used in the "same 
spirit" as the previous revenues. 
 
6.  (C)  The Prime Minister repeated his position that the 
College membership should not be personalized.  He added that 
the human rights groups can be represented by someone else. 
Yoadjimnadji also told the Ambassador that he "invited" the 
human rights groups to take action, he did not "request" it. 
 
The Ambassador pointed out that when the Government sends 
letters asking for the removal of an individual, most 
Chadians would view this as a demand, not an invitation. 
Yoadjimnadji assured the Ambassador he has no intention of 
forcing the human rights collective to do anything. 
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
AWAITING THE GOVERNMENT'S NEXT MOVES 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
7.  (C) Assingar, who is a longtime friend of the Prime 
Minister, told P/E officer that he does not believe that 
Yoadjimnadji is behind the Government request.  He suspects a 
French hand in the affair, given recent difficulties he has 
had transiting France, where he is the Vice President of a 
human rights collective, and the timing of the "attack", 
which comes only a few weeks after he stepped down as the 
President of LTDH.  He said that he has made the same 
statements publicly on many occasions and the Government has 
not taken exception.  In addition, he has written articles in 
Chadian newspapers critical of some of College's operations. 
Assingar's courtyard has been flooded with supporters since 
the beginning of the "affair". 
 
8.  (C)  According to Assingar, the Government's actions are 
tied to an alleged larger plot to place a pliable human 
rights representative on the College.  He said that the 
Government has already tried twice to replace the 
representation of legitimate human rights organizations with 
that of the umbrella group of Government-sponsored 
organizations (CASHIDO).  Assingar said that he asked the 
human rights groups not to make public the March 9 letter 
from Yoadjimnadji so that the Government can have a 
"graceful" exit from the situation.  However, Assingar said 
that if the Government persists in pushing for his removal, 
the human rights collective will go public with the letter 
and the death threats against Assingar.  (Comment: 
Yoadjimnadji told the Ambassador the reports of death threats 
against Assingar are not true, but Assingar told P/E officer 
that Yoadjimnadji's own brother came to warn him about the 
threats to his life.  This is not the first time that 
Assingar's life has been threatened. A vocal human rights 
activist for more than a decade, he was forced to escape 
through the back door and scale the compound wall when armed 
intruders paid a night visit to his home during the 1999 
Moundou civil disturbances.  End Comment.) 
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
THE VIEW FROM THE REVENUE MANAGEMENT BODY 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
9.  (C)  Ambassador Wall discussed the issue with the 
President of the Oil Revenue Management College, Lamana 
Abdoulaye and the General Secretary, Barka Michel on March 
10.  Lamana said that the College has established procedures, 
which clearly state that the member organizations nominate 
their own representatives.  The College itself can only 
remove a member if a "grave error of morality", such as 
corruption, occurs.  However, this would be an internal 
College matter which would be put to a vote.  He said that 
the College is not likely to sanction Assingar and that it is 
up to the organization that nominated him as to whether he 
stays or goes.  Lamana said that he hoped the issue was over. 
 In the course of conversation, Barka mentioned that the 
Government wanted CASHIDO to be involved in nominating the 
members of civil society. 
 
- - - - 
COMMENT 
- - - - 
 
10.  (C)  Fortunately the Prime Minister has not publicly 
called for Dobian's dismissal.  He was nonetheless passionate 
in defense of the Government's actions in our meeting with 
him, and it is unclear if he can let the issue drop.  The 
longer the affair goes on, the more the public and the donors 
will begin to question the Government's intentions toward the 
College and the management of the country oil revenues. 
After two days of relative quiet, we are hopeful the issue 
already has been dropped, but it is too soon to know for 
 
sure.  We note that the Prime Minister and Assingar agree 
that the new discoveries need to fall under a revenue 
management scheme.  They probably disagree over how the 
revenues will be divided.  We will continue to remind our 
contacts of concerns over any moves that could be seen as 
tampering with the independence of the revenue oversight 
mechanism. 
WALL 
 
 
NNNN 

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