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Katumbi to face country's prosecutor again on Wednesday

Katumbi to face country's prosecutor again on Wednesday

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The leading Congolese opposition candidate, Moise Katumbi is expected to return to Lubumbashi on Wednesday to answer questions concerning accusations by the government that he hired mercenaries.

The case could affect his fledgling campaign for the Democratic Republic of Congo’s top job.

The former governor for Katanga was summoned on Saturday after the country’s Justice Minister, Alexis Thambwe Mwamba ordered the prosecutor general to investigate his alleged use of mercenaries, including several retired American soldiers.

Katumbi appeared before the prosecutor general on Monday to respond to the accusations. But the hearing was later suspended until wednesday.

Scores of Katumbi’s supporters chanted outside the prosecutor general’s office on Monday. Police fired tear gas to disperse them and made some arrests.

The former ally of president Joseph Kabila has denied the accusations.

The enquiry could lead to charges that come with a prison term and could also see Katumbi embroiled in legal tussles during the campaign, Reuters reports.

But some of Katumbi’s supporters like Ilunga Mbayo believe the government’s accusations are political.

“I believe the whole matter has been politicised, it all started when Katumbi declared that he was going to contest the presidency and everything turned against him, I think those in power are afraid of Moise Katumbi and the popularity he is gaining,” he told Reuters.

The owner of the Congolese football club TP Mazembe is considered the strongest contender yet in presidential elections expected to be held later this year in that country.