In many places around the world, accessing corporate records is a simple process, using online databases or an API facilitating real-time record retrieval. However, the DRC is a complex jurisdiction due to persistent pockets of political instability, inconsistent administrative digitalisation, and the vast geographical landscape. Insufficient access to information is not the primary obstacle- the details of an active company's articles, shareholders, shares, and directors are generally available- but rather the difficulty stems from locating such documents. The absence of a centralised registry means on-the-ground support is essential since accessing provincial registries may require travelling considerable distances.
At the beginning of this year, a global business reached out to GTI to find an on-the-ground Network Partner to retrieve company records in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of a wider due diligence investigation.
The Platform quickly identified and matched a suitable Network Partner from our vetted community in the DRC. The successful match had an extensive background in investigative journalism in Africa, was fluent in French, and was able to physically visit the registry to retrieve the corporate records.
In the first instance, the Network Partner conducted an in-person visit to the local registry to present the document retrieval request. While the registry accepted the request for information, it took three days of research through manual historical records to then inform the Network Partner that the file was not in the office archives. The clerk informed the Network Partner in a conversation during his second in-person visit that the physical file would have been transferred to a different office during the re-organisation of the records. As the entity was said to be registered a few years back, there wouldn't be electronic records of this company.
Our Network Partner used the platform to immediately communicate the situation to the client where they agreed to conduct directorship checks of the subject as an alternative solution. Our client was able to successfully adjust course based on live information from their on-the-ground partner to quickly resolve the matter.
Want to learn more? Browse our use cases to discover how we’ve helped other clients conduct diligence and investigations, without the friction.