World

Vital Kamerhe arrested on suspicion of corruption

President Tshisekedi's chief of staff was asked about public procurement. His arrest took place on April 8, 2020 after a 6h hearing at the headquarters of the national prosecutor's office.

Vital Kamerhe, Secretary General of President Tshisekedi (DRC) since his inauguration over a year ago, was arrested and placed in pre-trial detention on April 8, 2020 as part of an investigation into an alleged embezzlement of public funds. While the prosecution has not officially communicated the reasons for his detention, Vital Kamerhe is said to have dismissed the charges brought against him.

At the end of his interrogation, which lasted almost 6 hours, the Secretary General of the presidency was taken by the police to Makala prison, the chief of police of the capital Kinshasa, Sylvano Kasongo, told Reuters.

At the heart of this investigation is the construction of a series of infrastructures supposed to relieve road traffic in the Congolese capital. $ 46 million had already been spent in February 2020, without any work having come out of the ground.

Several people including a banker and the head of a public enterprise have already been placed in pre-trial detention in this investigation into the financing of the so-called “hundred days” program of the Head of State. Vital Kamerhe found himself on the front line, because his function as chief of staff gave him the right to sign contracts signed on behalf of the state. In September 2019, his name had already been cited in an investigation into the alleged disappearance of $ 15 million.

In the Council of Ministers, on February 20, Justice Minister Célestin Tunda Ya Kasende had hoped that this investigation would mark “the beginning of renewal “ justice in the DRC, “for a true rule of law“.

This is a setback for President Félix Tshisekedi, who came to power in January 2019, after having promised during the electoral campaign to eradicate corruption that his predecessor at the head of the state, Joseph Kabila, was accused of have made it prosper. President Tshisekedi's spokesperson said the president did not comment on court decisions.

Supporters of Vital Kamerhe, who tried to assemble in court, denounce them a political settling of scores. Vital Kamerhe, pillar of the former Kabila regime before moving to the opposition in 2010, does not have only friends in power. His presidential ambitions for 2023 annoy the old guard of President Tshisekedi's followers.

If Vital Kamerhe was auditioned, it is because he is “not only the authorizing officer of the presidency, but also, because until September 2019, he was the one who controlled with an iron fist the finances of this program“, one explains on the side of the prosecution, just like in the ranks of the camp of his ally, Félix Tshisekedi. For the citizen movement, the Lucha, this dossier has”test value “For President Tshisekedi and his declared will to promote the rule of law. The organization calls to avoid political interference and to respect the presumption of innocence of Vital Kamerhe. For La Lucha, the Congolese people will be the judge of how this case may or may not be completed.

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