Comments on the CNN Investigative Report

Muawad Mustafa Rashid

A network of Russian and Sudanese military leaders are colluding to plunder Sudan’s gold reserves and production, enabling Moscow to fund its ongoing war in Ukraine amidst increasingly severe Western sanctions, a CNN report published recently has claimed.

According to CNN’s sources, Russia allegedly operated 16 flights out of Sudan, Africa’s third largest producer of precious metal, over the past 18 months.

CNN claimed a whistleblower from inside the Sudanese Central Bank showed reporters a photo of a spreadsheet revealing that 32.7 tons were unaccounted for in 2021. Using current prices, this amounts to $1.9 billion worth of missing gold, at $60 million a ton.

But the report stated that this could be an underestimate and that $13.4 billion, or 90 percent of the country’s production, is lost through illegal means every year. CNN could not verify these figures in the report.

The CNN report claims that the scheme is the result of an agreement with Sudan’s increasingly unpopular military leadership in exchange for Russia’s military support to suppress the country’s pro-democracy movement.

As a reaction to that investigative report, the Sudanese media outlets were overwhelmed by comments, discussions, and analyses from several dimensions.

I will try hereunder to discuss the issue from a different angle.

First of all, I agree with others that the CNN report was not neutral and the reporter did not commit to professionalism in her report.

There are indeed huge quantities of gold smuggled outside the country a matter which has a disastrous impact on the Sudanese economy.

But from another angle, I think that the mystery accompanying the process of production and exporting gold encouraged the CNN report to conduct its controversial report.

There is no access to the information related to gold and the economic institutions intend to keep those statistics confidential to avoid any related problems.

Nobody knows any detailed information on the National Social Security Fund which is the richest economic institution in the country. I know that this institution contributes to 13 banks and owns others besides several companies, factories, and towers.’

Nobody knows about the companies working in mills or gold…

In short, I think that all our economic activities should be available to the public and if the companies and other economic institutions block the information, then the investigative reports – like the CNN reporter – will reveal the realities.

Even in the Arab countries, there are a kind of transparency in providing the economic information to the public –  particularly the media –  and if any businesses attempt to hide any information then this will make the businessman or the economic institution subject to criticism.

In almost all countries – except Sudan – people know complete information on the economic activities, the capital of the companies, the nature of their work, investments, and the wealth of the businessmen in inaccurate figures.

The issue is related to the negligence of the government to the national media and its important role in revealing the realities to avoid fake reports.

It is apparent that the government has no strategy to deal with the national media and this will lead to the decline of media impact in boosting the Sudanese economy by revealing accurate information.

It is high time for the government to adopt a clear strategy toward the media sector considering that it has become the main political economic and cultural engine of the globe.

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