May 9, 1997
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH!
As the corrupt regime of dictator Mobutu appears on the verge of falling to rebel forces, it appears that Zaire’s rulers have a new motto: when the going gets tough, the tough drain the country’s coffers and head for the exits.
If you’ve ever wondered where your tax dollars for foreign aid end up, Zaire offers an instructive example. Long known for its corruption, dictator Mobutu Sese Seko has always set the example for his “administration.”
The estimated personal net worth of Mobutu is between four and five billion dollars. By strange coincidence, that figure just happens to equal the foreign indebtedness of the country he has ruled since 1960. Mobutu has used his takings to accumulate a string of mansions across Europe that make the British Royal family appear homeless by comparison.
And now, as his corrupt regime enters its last days and the arrival of rebel soldiers appears imminent, those still left to guard the till seem to be following their leader’s example.
As you read this, current Prime Minister Likuila Bolongo appears to be converting the last of Zaire’s public hard currency into cash. It appears he plans to leave the country shortly, with suitcases stuffed with about seven million dollars of currency.
The prime minister, who also happens to be a general, appears to be avoiding unnecessary distractions, like doing his job and defending the capitol from the rebels, to focus on the business at hand — bilking the treasury.
Mobutu’s relatives began leaving the country several months ago, but now that the end is at hand, it appears that everyone connected with one of the world’s most corrupt regimes is about to take what they can get and get out.
(Source: Washington Post.)
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