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DRC: Investigation opens on Joseph Kabila over $138 million embezzlement

Former DRC president Joseph Kabila   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

A judicial investigation targeting former Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila and his cronies has been opened in Kinshasa after revelations of alleged embezzlement of $138 million, a judicial source said Wednesday.

In an investigation entitled "Congo Hold-up", conducted by international media and NGOs, which began publication on Friday, Mr. Kabila and his family are accused of having "siphoned" at least $138 million from state coffers. These alleged embezzlements took place from 2013 to 2018, according to the authors of this investigation, which is causing a stir in the DRC.

Questioned by the press, government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said Monday that "the Minister of Justice wrote to the prosecutor's office on November 20 (...), she gave an injunction for the purposes of investigation and prosecution." "We cannot, as a government, remain insensitive to such allegations," said Muyaya, who is also Minister of Communication.

A source in the prosecutor's office told AFP on condition of anonymity that "a judicial inquiry has been opened" by the prosecutor's office at the Court of Cassation, following a request by the Minister of Justice.

According to the "Congo Hold-up" investigation, the 138 million dollars were embezzled "with the complicity of the BGFI RDC bank" (subsidiary in the DRC of the BGFIBank banking group based in Gabon), in which people close to Mr. Kabila had interests and responsibilities, "in particular through a shell company set up in a garage.

According to its authors, this investigation is based on 3.5 million confidential banking documents, obtained by the French online investigative media Mediapart and the NGO "Platform for the Protection of whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF). These data were analyzed for six months by 19 international media and five NGOs, coordinated by the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) network.

In a statement, the communication service of former President Kabila described the findings of this investigation as "Kabilabashing" and "an attempt to discredit" the former head of state.

Kabila led the DRC from January 2001 to January 2019 when current head of state Felix Tshisekedi succeeded him.

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