Vital Kamerhe, former chief of staff to President Félix Tshisekedi, who in 2020 was sentenced to 20 years of forced labor for embezzling nearly $ 60 million under the head of state’s emergency program, was acquitted on appeal. The case had been dismissed, which had returned the file. His co-defendant, the Lebanese businessman Sanoh Jammal, is also acquitted. The Kinshasa-Gombe Court of Appeal justifies its judgment with the lack of evidence.
as reported from Kinshasa,Pascal Mulegwa
In the first and second degree, the prosecutor and the civil parties had substantiated the crimes of embezzlement and corruption through a series of isolated acts. Both camps also relied on the enrichment of some members of the Kamerhe family.
Appeals judges today say there is no physical evidence so far and clears the president’s former right-hand man of all charges. The ruling did not surprise in political circles, where relaxation has been in place since the end of 2021.
The judgments of the Court of Cassation had first granted a provisional release to Vital Kamerhe, justifying their decision with “the very critical medical image” of those concerned. In April the same court annulled the confirmation of the conviction of the Kinshasa Court of Appeal – Gombe. The Court of Cassation had found that the Court of Appeal had violated the right of defense when the case was not in a position to assess.
The file was sent back to new judges who have therefore just overturned the previous sentence in all its provisions.
For Me Hugues Pulusi, lawyer for Vital Kamerhe, “justice has repaired its injustice and the truth has triumphed over lies”.
It remains to be seen whether or not the prosecutor will try a new appeal in cassation, but this acquittal allows Vital Kamerhe to return to the political arena at the dawn of the election.