Congo court orders release of former top presidential aide from prison

Vital Kamerhe and Felix Tshisekedi arrive at N'djili International Airport in Kinshasa
FILE PHOTO: Vital Kamerhe, leader of the Democratic Union for the Peoples of the Congo (UNC) party, accompanied by Felix Tshisekedi, leader of Congo’s main opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), arrives at the Stadium N’djili International Flight in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo November 27, 2018. REUTERS / Kenny Katombe / File Photo

December 6, 2021

KINSHASA (Reuters) – Vital Kamerhe, the former chief of staff to Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, has been temporarily released from prison while serving a 13-year sentence for embezzlement of $48 million in public funds, his lawyer said. know on Monday.

Kamerhe began serving his sentence last year after becoming the most senior politician to face a graft trial in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where high-profile corruption is widespread.

Attorney Kabengela Ilunga told Reuters.

He did not say why Kamerhe was released or under what terms.

There was no immediate comment from authorities, but a presidential source confirmed the court’s decision.

At the time of trial, Kamerhe denied theft of funds intended for social housing under Tshisekedi’s flagship 100-day construction program.

The veteran power broker backed President Felix Tshisekedi during his successful 2018 election campaign in exchange for Tshisekedi’s backing the next time around in 2023.

(Reported by Stanis Bujakera; Written by Alessandra Prentice; Edited by Marguerita Choy) Congo court orders release of former top presidential aide from prison


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