Earlier this week, Evode Imena, Rwanda’s Minister of State in Charge of Mining appeared before the House Financial Services Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee to provide testimony on the effectiveness of the US conflict minerals requirements under Dodd-Frank Section 1502. The video of the hearing can be viewed here.
Through his comments, Minister Imena maintained that Rwanda’s situation relative to conflict minerals mining and transportation is completely different from that in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Imena testified that there is no conflict in Rwanda and therefore, Rwanda should be inherently classified as conflict-free under US requirements. He also denied that Rwanda had any role in mineral/ore smuggling from the DRC.
These statements are at odds with findings presented in the United Nations Group of Experts (GoE) Mid-term Report on the Democratic Republic of Congo issued October 16, 2015. Paragraphs 56 – 67 of the Report set forth evidence found by GoE of gold smuggling from the DRC into Rwanda and black market sales of iTSCi tags and supporting documentation.