Tag: Congo

Dikembe Mutombo

Dikembe Mutombo allegedly involved in sordid gold scam


Dikembe Mutombo is a guy known nearly as well for his international humanitarian efforts as his post-block finger wag. A guy well respected around the league.

But this could ruin that reputation — Mutombo was at the heart of a dirty deal to move $10 million in Congolese gold out of that nation and to the United States, reports the Houston Chronicle.

It is a complex story but it starts with this fact — gold being moved out of the Congo is essentially a “blood mineral” the way “blood diamonds” have been a problem in parts of the world. Mafia-like organizations control the mining and sale of the gold, then are using the money from that to fund a civil war in the nation that has cost more than 5 million lives.

This situation involves Houston business man Kase Lawal, who allegedly was approached by Mutombo to move more than 1,000 pounds of gold — worth more than $10 million on the open market — out of the Congo. The two men and others decided to work together but at the last second the deal fell apart when Lawal’s private plane was seized by Congolese militia (loaded with gold and cash).

It is a messy situation. There have been no arrests or charges, but Mutombo does not come off well in this picture — a guy who talks of humanitarian needs on one hand and tries to profit from conflict minerals on the other. He did not comment on the story.

Read the whole thing. It’s fascinating and disturbing. And while it is hard to discern the truth, nobody comes off looking good. Especially not Mutombo.

DJ Mbenga signs deal with New Orleans Hornets

1 Comment

UPDATE 6:40 pm: It’s official, the Hornets have announced they have reached a one-year deal with Congo Cash (although they refer to him as DJ Mbenga for some reason).

No ring and a very different feel this year for Mbenga getting out of the Lakers spotlight, but you can bet the people in New Orleans will take to him. Good guy.

3:18 pm: Looks like the Hornets may be Mbanging with Mbenga.

The journeyman center who picked up a couple shiny championship rings with the Lakers the last couple of seasons is in New Orleans to work out for the team and is close to signing a one-year deal with the franchise, according to a tweet from Marc Stein of ESPN.

It makes some sense, the Hornets are looking for a little bench depth at center and Mbenga is looking to get paid. By anyone.

Hornets’ fans will like Mbenga, called Congo Cash by his LA teammates. On the court he’ll block some shots and is just kind of fun to watch play mop up minutes, in a goofy sort of way. Off it he’s a classy guy who is very involved in trying to improve things in his native Congo. He even built a court there in Kobe’s name. .

Now it may be Hornets fans chance to get to games an hour early and watch Mbenga work hard on a midrange game that looks so good then but always seems to let him down during actual games.