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Cablegate: Drc Parliament: Lutundula Advocates Ambitious

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PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1758/01 3201602
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161602Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5179
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 001758

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EFIN KCOR KDEM CG
SUBJECT: DRC PARLIAMENT: LUTUNDULA ADVOCATES AMBITIOUS

REFORMS

1. (U) Summary: Longtime Congolese parliamentarian
Christophe Lutundula outlined his legislative priorities for
the new National Assembly in a November 8 meeting with
EmbOffs. Lutundula advocates broad reforms and scrutiny of
contracts in the natural resources sector, as well as
stringent measures for identifying public sector corruption.
His initial priorities include legislation on the opposition,
judiciary, public finance, and provincial autonomy. End
summary.

2. (U) Longtime DRC parliamentarian Christophe Lutundula,
chairman of the National Assembly's Ad Hoc Internal Rules
Committee, discussed his legislative priorities in a November
8 meeting with EmbOffs. Lutundula, a senior member of
President Joseph Kabila's Alliance for the Presidential
Majority (AMP), expressed hopes for a robust, transparent,
and innovative Assembly. He plans to focus on increasing
transparency and accountability particularly in the natural
resources sector, where he has positioned himself to take a
leading role.

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LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS
---------------------

3. (U) Lutundula's proposals for urgent legislation are
ambitious. He suggested that during the first months of the
new government the National Assembly focus on: laws defining
the role of the opposition; organizational and administrative
laws to support the autonomy of the provinces; revision of
existing finance laws, especially those relating to the
autonomy of provinces; and laws formalizing re-organization
of the judiciary.

4. (U) Lutundula is also concerned about public sector
transparency and accountability. He stressed that he is a
strong proponent of anti-corruption measures. He noted that
in past DRC regimes, "members of the government were above
the law." He proposed that all politicians be required to
file financial disclosure statements detailing all assets
upon entering and exiting public office, in order to restrict
them from overtly profiting from their positions.

-----------------
NATURAL RESOURCES
-----------------

5. (U) Lutundula said a report on government contracts
issued by a committee he chaired in the transitional
parliament will form one basis of future legislative work on
the natural resources sector. Committee members reviewed 60
of the GDRC,s contracts during the period 1996-2003,
primarily in the natural resources sector, for a World
Bank-funded report. The committee finalized its conclusions
in June 2005, but its report, which named several prominent
politicians and government officials, was never formally
debated, reportedly due to political pressure.

6. (U) Lutundula told us he will work for the parliament to
create an independent oversight commission for the sector.
He said the main problem is enforcement of existing laws such
as the mining code, and monitoring government contracts with
concession holders. The commission would review proposed
agreements and their implementation, and help ensure that
proceeds from mining activities are channeled back to the
provinces for social development. He proposed that it have
independent powers, 15-17 members, consult with international
experts and receive support for multilateral and bilateral
donors.

7. (SBU) Lutundula's ideas about addressing illegal export
of resources on-the-ground are less developed than those
focused on preventing corruption at the contractual level.
He acknowledged the GDRC does not currently have the capacity
to stop smuggling at its borders, in part because the
military and police are not ready for the task. He suggested
neighboring countries and the DRC work together to develop
industry guidelines similar to those of the OECD, and that
each participating country promulgate these as national
legislation.

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COMMENT
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KINSHASA 00001758 002 OF 002


8. (U) Lutundula is well respected and appears committed to
taking on the difficult issues of corruption and graft. His
agenda, for example on corruption and the natural resources
sector, demonstrates he has his finger on some of the
international community's hot-button issues, but he must
first sell it to the National Assembly. His priorities may
be overly ambitious, and the Assembly is unlikely to approve
any new legislation until January, but on November 14 the
51-member committee he chairs agreed on a proposal for a
permanent commission on illegally-acquired property to
reassure investors concerned about expropriation or
compensation. End comment.

-----------------
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE
-----------------

9. (U) Lutundula began his career as a magistrate, worked as
Director of the Center of International Commerce, progressed
to Counselor of the Department of National Economy and
Industry, and worked as the Director of the Petroleum
Enterprise of Zaire before serving as Deputy Speaker of
Parliament under Mobutu in 1992. He was a member of
parliament during the transition, and was elected to the new
National Assembly from Eastern Kasai in July 2006. He enjoys
a close relationship with former National Assembly President
Olivier Kamitatu, who is currently affiliated with President
Kabila's legislative alliance.
MEECE

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