AREVA and the return of the Uranium Gate scandal in Niger: Nigerien civil society mobilises in front of the French justice system
Communiqué  Posté le 03-12-2020 15:05, modifié le 03-12-2020 15:05 par Tournons la Page

Niger has 8% of the world's reserves of uranium, a metal that is indispensable for the operation of nuclear power stations. Since the country's independence from France in 1960, it is the French company AREVA (now ORANO), through its subsidiaries, that has been exploiting Niger's uranium. On 16 February 2017, the "Uranium Gate scandal" broke out, causing the French group Areva to lose $101 million on the sale of a uranium stockpile in November 2011. Through Russian and Lebanese intermediaries, retro commissions were allegedly received by several players, including Nigeriens.

Although AREVA's headquarters were searched in Paris in November 2017, no one has yet been concerned about these misappropriations. After a lengthy preliminary investigation by the French National Financial Prosecutor's Office, a judicial enquiry was opened in February 2020 by an investigating judge for "bribery of foreign public officials, private corruption, criminal conspiracy, abuse of corporate assets, breach of trust and organised gang laundering of these offences" concerning the sale of Nigerian uranium by AREVA.

Because of its status and its involvement from the outset in the revelation of its actions likely to be classified as criminal offences, on 30 November 2020 ROTAB*, supported by the Tournons La Page (TLP) and Publish What You Pay (PWYP) movements, filed a civil claim with the investigating judge in charge of the case at the Paris Judicial Court.

In 2018, AREVA was renamed ORANO." Changing the name should not clear the company and its accomplices from past scandals. The people responsible for the embezzlement must be brought to account and, if necessary, brought to justice," concluded Ali Idrissa, ROTAB Coordinator in Niger.

*Since 2013, the Network of Organisations for Transparency and Budget Analysis (ROTAB), whose objective is to "contribute to the fight against corruption in all its forms", has been denouncing irregularities in AREVA's actions in Niger. While ROTAB denounces the corruption that scleroses Nigerien society, it does not disapprove of uranium mining, provided that it respects the principles of transparency and is a driving force for development for the local population. For example, ROTAB disapproved of the suspension of the Imouraren mine project, which began in 2009 and was suspended in 2014. This project was intended to enable Niger to become the world's third largest uranium producer and to create numerous jobs for young people.



Ali IDRISSA – Coordinator of ROTAB : / +227 96 47 10 57

Maikoul ZODI – Coordinator of TLP-Niger : / +227 92 68 68 68

Me Élise LE GALL – Lawyer at the Paris Bar, appointed by ROTAB : / +33 1 40 05 50 83