Two of the three convicted in June 2020 for embezzlement in the “100 days” case were released on Friday along with the 23 inmates convicted by a military court of the murder of former head of state Laurent-Désiré Kabila in 2001. These two releases triggered an uprising in the DRC.
as reported from Kinshasa, Pascal Mulegwa
They have been found guilty embezzlement of about $ 12 million intended for the construction of roads in the cities of Goma and Bukavu. The Director General of the Road and Drainage Office, Benjamin Wenga and Modeste Makabuza of the Congolese construction company (SOCOC) were ultimately sentenced to 5 years and two and a half years respectively.
But they left Kinshasa Prison Center on Friday night, five months after their conviction. Their lawyers say they are among the recipients of the president’s pardon when other legal sources talk about parole.
Anti-corruption NGOs outraged
“A scandal!” Exclaims Georges Kapiamba of the ACAJ, the Congolese association for access to justice. For him, not only does the Order of Collective Forgiveness exclude persons convicted of embezzlement of public funds, but this lawyer recalls that even the judicial decision taken against them precluded any remission of sentence or conditional release. . “These two people must return to prison,” concludes Maitre Kapiamba
The public expenditure observatory, this NGO that had warned of financial failure in the contract, is also indignant. This is a bad sign ”for the fight against corruption. What message do we send to those who continue to plunder the country, ”the NGO exclaims.
For his boss, Florimond Muteba, these releases throw the country into a culture of impunity. Joined the RFI, Interim Justice Minister Bernard Ngumbi promises to respond later when already NGOs like the ACAJ demand prosecution against him.
► To read too: DRC: “100-Day Program”, from major works to the detention of Vital Kamerhe