by WorldTribune Staff, October 24, 2017
North Korea is making a “highly significant” amount of cash from construction projects in African countries, the United Nations said.
Hugh Griffiths, the coordinator of the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea which monitors the enforcement of sanctions, told CNN that construction projects by North Korea’s state-owned Mansudae have recently taken place in Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Zimbabwe and Senegal.
“We are looking at at least 14 African (UN) member states where Mansudae alone was running quite large construction operations – building everything from ammunition factories, to presidential palaces, to apartment blocks,” Griffiths said.
Mansudae has also worked in Benin, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia and Togo.
Local media in Zimbabwe report there are two giant Robert Mugabe statues made by Mansudae in storage waiting to commemorate his death. In Senegal, the giant African Renaissance Monument was cast on site by Mansudae craftsmen and dedicated in 2010.
Senegal paid for its 161-foot statue by giving some land to North Korea – which immediately sold it for cash.
It’s estimated that Mansudae has earned tens of millions of dollars in this way.
“North Koreans can make a little money go a long way,” Griffiths said.
In Namibia, Mansudae built the presidential palace and a statue of Sam Nujoma, the anti-apartheid activist and the nation’s founding president, in front of the National Museum in the capital of Windhoek, according to CNN.
Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah told CNN that all North Korean operations have now been stopped and all North Korean construction workers have left the nation, in accordance with UN sanctions.
“All of these were agreed before the sanctions by the UN. But when the sanctions were imposed we had to comply and then we had to cease all the contracts, we had to terminate the contracts we had with North Korea,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
The UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Mansudae’s statue-building operations last year and on the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), which CNN says Mansudae worked with in Namibia, in 2009.