Congo president’s chief of staff sentenced to 20 years in prison over $48m fraud

Congo president’s chief of staff sentenced to 20 years in prison over $48m fraud

- The chief of staff to the president of Congo, Vital Kamerhe, has bagged 20 years in jail

- Kamerhe was found guilty of embezzling public funds to the tune of $48 million

- The convicted chief of staff had earlier denied embezzling funds, alleging political witchhunt

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The Democratic Republic of Congo has recorded a high-profile conviction in its fight against corruption among government officials and public servants.

A report by Reuters indicates that Vital Kamerhe, the chief of staff to President Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo was on Saturday, June 20, sentenced to 20 years in prison for embezzlement. gathers that Kamerhe was found guilty of pilfering public funds to the tune of $48 million.

Congo president’s chief of staff sentenced to 20 years in prison over $48m fraud
Congo president’s chief of staff sentenced to 20 years in prison over $48m fraud. Photo credit: Reuters
Source: UGC

The presiding judge, Pierrot Bankenge Mvita, said the court has established that Kamerhe truly embezzled public funds "relating to the amount of $48,831,148".

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The chief of staff's conviction comes ten weeks after he was arrested on April 8.

He had earlier denied embezzling the public funds which were set aside for a social housing project, alleging that the accusations against him were politically motivated.

Kamerhe reportedly played a significant role in the election of President Tshisekedi in 2018 and is also eyeing the presidential seat in 2023.

The court's verdict, however, indicates that he will not be eligible to contest for president for ten years after serving his jail term.

Nevertheless, Jean Marie Kabenga Ilunga, Kamerhe's lawyer, said he would appeal the ruling, insisting his client’s conviction was a “violation of human rights”.

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Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has described social media celebrity, Ray Hushpuppi as Nigeria’s most wanted hacker.

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Police detain APC leader over alleged financial misappropriation

The International Police (Interpol) in a joint operation with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) recently arrested Hushpuppi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over alleged fraud.

Speaking about the arrest of the suspect, the spokesperson of the anti-graft agency, Dele Oyewale, in a statement on Thursday, June 18, said Hushpuppi was involved with other high-profile cybercriminals facing trial in Nigeria.

The anti-graft agency stated that other Nigerian cybercriminals with links to the suspect are also being investigated.

EFCC said it is working with the FBI in tracking Hushpuppi’s fraudulent transactions.

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