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Sudan election: Is Khartoum stealing South Sudan's oil?

As people vote in the Sudan election, a recent report says that $700 million – perhaps much more – may have been underpaid to South Sudan since a 2005 peace agreement mandated the sharing of oil revenues with Khartoum in the North.

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Sudan election: An election official stamps a ballot paper as women vote in the town of Malakal, Sudan. The three-day election – Sudan's first multiparty vote in a quarter century – will be a key indicator of whether Sudan can fend off renewed conflict and humanitarian crisis as it heads toward a 2011 referendum that could bring independence for the oil-producing south.

Finbarr O'Reilly/REUTERS

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As Sudanese line up across the country to cast their ballots in the first multiparty Sudan election since 1986, a recent report is bolstering what southern Sudanese leaders have long suspected: that their northern partners in Khartoum have been cheating them out of hundreds of millions in oil revenues.

The report by the Global Witness transparency watchdog in London says that $700 million – perhaps much more – may have been underpaid to the south since a peace agreement mandated the sharing of oil revenues in 2005.

Using oil production figures published by one of the biggest foreign companies producing oil in Sudan, the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC), Global Witness found that the Chinese reported 12 percent higher levels of production in Blue Nile state in 2009 than what the Sudanese government in Khartoum had reported for the same time period.

IN PICTURES: Sudan elections

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