Congo leader runs up massive hotel bill in New York

08 January 2007 by
Congo leader runs up massive hotel bill in New York

The leader of one of Africa's poorest countries ran up a hotel bill of $400,000 (£207,000) during two trips to New York last year.

Congo President Denis Sassou-Nguesso spent £12,000 on room service during a five-night stay at the Waldorf Astoria, putting the bill through under the country's official expense account covering its mission to the USA.

On a second trip to the same hotel in September, during the UN general assembly meeting, he treated himself and his entourage to 44 hotel rooms and £14,000 of room service, thought to have included several bottles of Cristal champagne.

The bill came to more than £130,000; dwarfing the £106,000 Britain provided in humanitarian aid last year.

Sarah Wykes, of anti-corruption group, Global Witness, said: "In what sense are these hotel bills a good use of Congo-Brazzaville's money when the majority of the population doesn't have electricity or drinking water?"

Last year the World Bank and the International Monetary fund agreed to a debt relief package on the grounds that the country was too poor to meet its financial commitments.

Waldorf Astoria, New York website >>

Global Witness website >>

Congo factfile >>

By Alex Blakelock

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