Former Health Minister Eteni Longondo arrested

Former Congolese Minister of Health Eteni Longondo, accused almost unanimously by the General Inspectorate of Finance (IGF) of embezzling funds set aside for the response to Covid-19 when he was in office in 2020, was placed under a temporary arrest warrant, Friday, August 27, 2021, in the end of a hearing at the prosecutor’s office near the Court of Cassation in Kinshasa. He spent the night in Makala Central Prison.

as reported from Kinshasa, Pascal Mulegwa

It is a move that removes a thorn in the side of President Tshisekedi, comments one of his close advisers, who was annoyed at seeing justice accused of only locking in opponents of the regime.

Eteni Longondo is an important figure in the presidential party, the UDPS. He had already been brought to justice by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority in August 2020, but the file had not been taken care of to annoy the head of IGF.

At the beginning of the week, the file was activated against all expectations. And that is why it is with peace and quiet that Eténi Longondo, on Friday 27 August around 11 am, presented himself to the Public Prosecutor’s Office together with his lawyers.

The hearing lasts for five hours. The former minister is confronted with documents and minutes from the IGF, according to legal sources. If he was sent to prison, another source close to the prosecutor’s office states, it is because there are serious signs of guilt that weigh on him.

In the case of RFI, as in local media, Eteni Longondo 2020 assured that no amount had been embezzled, even though the IGF report had concluded that it was embezzled against a background of over-billing for services and patient care. Other expenses still, not justified. The parts were in “full control of their services” at the time of the IGF control, Eteni Longondo assured.

In November, he had returned about $ 721,900 to the Treasury as a result of the “perceived premium” of the agents for the response and the “difference in reorganization” of the parliamentary seat, as well as a “double payment by the Congolese central bank” of “accidental”.

At this stage of the proceedings requires the secrecy of the inquiry: no comment was received from the lawyers of the former minister. Eteni Longondore went to prison with her predecessor, Oly Ilunga, who in 2019 was sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling funds as part of the response to the Ebola epidemic as the deadliest in Congo-Kinshasa’s history.

►Read: Management of anti-Covid funds in the Democratic Republic of Congo, explains the Minister of Health himself


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