Mixed reactions in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo following the jailing of the former chief of staff, Vital Kamerhe.
The former National Assembly speaker was handed down a 20 year sentence for corruption with hard labour Saturday.
“Of course Kamerhe was convicted of so-called “embezzlement of public funds”. But the judiciary was unable to give tangible evidence proving his guilt, so that people would give credit to this sentence”, Olivier Bofulu, a taxi driver said.
For Nathan Mayele, a bartender, “With the funds they are given to improve the living conditions of the population – creating roads and building military bases, they transfer it to their own pockets. They are interested in their own interests and not the interest of the country. I totally agree with the court’s decision. It did the right thing.”
The high profile case has tested the government of President Felix Tshisekedi’s anti-graft credentials.
The 61-year old former aid to the Congolese President, was convicted for diverting more than $50 million of public funds, the court in Kinshasa said.
A large chunk of the money was earmarked for building 1,500 social housing units under a programme announced by President Tshisekedi after his inauguration in January 2019.