Former Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo, former Finance Minister Patrice Ketebi and the South African head of Africom reject the Cassation Court’s jurisdiction in the Bukanga-Lonzo agroindustrial park trial. A case where they are being prosecuted for embezzlement of several million dollars.
In November 2021, the Constitutional Court declared itself incompetent. Immediately after the Court of Cassation took over, but so far the case has been postponed twice. The first, due to absence of the main accused Matata Ponyo on a trip abroad, the other to enable the court to find an English interpreter for the South African Cristo Grobler.
This time, the two interpreters were invited to take an oath before the court judge. Then followed the call from the defendants to the bar, in turn, Augustin Matata Ponyo, Patrice Kitebi Kibol and Cristo Grobler, followed by their lawyers.
For Me Nyabirungu Mwenasonga, one of Matata Ponyo’s lawyers, the speech has not changed. The Constitutional Court had declared itself incompetent and he considers that the Court of Cassation no longer exists. I, Laurent Onyemba, from the same team, explain: “We posed as a preliminary to the court: what is the mechanism that causes the files to leave the Constitutional Court’s office? to the Court of Cassation because there is no bridge in law between these jurisdictions? The Court of Cassation is a superior court in judicial law and the Constitutional Court is an exceptional court.
For Me Kalume Beya, his client Christo Grobler can only be convicted by an international court: “It happens that when the state signed this agreement with Cristo Grobler, the South African companies appointed a judge. He’s an arbitrator, he’s an international arbitrator.
In his answer, the crown did not go with the back of the spoon. For him, the court is competent, and the action brought by the defendants must be considered unlawful, the Congolese people rot in misery and demand compensation. The court will rule on July 21 on the objections of the lawyers.