Jean-Jacques Lumumba and Guylain Luwere have been given the right to lodge a complaint against the Congolese bank BGFI, in the heart of the Congo Hold-up affair, with French courts. A first victory for the two former bank employees who have been intimidated after reporting illegal activities.
The case begins in 2019 when Jean-Jacques Lumumba’s and Guylain Luweres’ lawyers file a complaint in Franceagainst BGFI for the threats they have been exposed to. Jean-Jacques Lumumba personally criticizes his bank for intimidating and threatening him when in April 2016 he reported to his hierarchy about irregularities and embezzlement in connection with his work. According to his lawyer, MeHenri Thullier, these threats even forced him to leave the Democratic Republic of Congo to seek asylum in France.
It is these facts that the French judges will now be able to take. Since June 29, two judgments of the Court of Cassation have ruled in favor of the Congolese whistleblowers. As Me Henri Thullier, Head of Platform for the protection of whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF)French justice is based on European law: “Each country must apply its own laws to aliens living in its territory”.
“MM Lumumba and Luwere had reported internally to the BGFI in Congo about the embezzlement they had witnessed in an attempt to stop these activities which they considered illegal,” the lawyer explains. And their report had not been taken seriously enough because they were threats and threats which, at least in the case of Jean-Jacques Lumumba, forced him to leave the Democratic Republic of Congo to seek asylum in France.
“The trial in the case will be able to begin” This unprecedented decision therefore opens up for a substantive trial. Which is a relief for Jean-Jacques Lumumba: “The trial will begin and fortunately the Congo Hold-up deal has come and confirmed many things I already said several years ago. And so now the merits of the case will be able to begin, which was not certain when we, together with the lawyers, initiated these proceedings.
The latter actually left the Democratic Republic of Congo to take refuge in France in June 2016, so he could no longer take legal action in Congo, nor in France until this decision of the Court of Cassation. Jean-Jacques Lumumba says he is now waiting for a legal result to help him in the fight against corruption in the DRC.
On the basis of the revelations about Congo Hold-up, Belgian justice launched an investigation into “corruption” is aimed at businessman Philippe de Moerloose. The latter would have overcharged equipment, for a total amount of 740 million dollars to the DRC at that time by President Joseph Kabila.
►Also read:French justice launches an investigation following the revelations of the Congo Hold-up investigation