2 May 2024

Road to Reprisal: U.S. Agency Fired Congo Whistleblower

Last summer, a little-known U.S. government agency was considering a deal that sources say would have directed more than $100 million in U.S. funding to build and run a toll road and bridge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia. The project would help link valuable cobalt mines in the Congo to the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

An analyst from the agency, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), raised concerns that the project risked displacing nearly 10,000 people in Congolese villages and possibly more. To move forward would violate an agency policy “categorically” prohibiting it from funding projects displacing 5,000 or more people. After the analyst refused to sign off on the project, the agency fired him in August 2023, two sources told POGO.

This firing is one of several recent alleged or confirmed instances of reprisal at the agency.

Shortcomings related to project due diligence and the agency’s firing of the analyst are “very disturbing,” according to Stephanie Amoako, policy director at the nonprofit Accountability Counsel.

Read the full investigation from the Project on Government Oversight here.