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Congo Parliament Debates Future of Ministers Suspended for Corruption

Congo's parliament is debating the future of six ministers, after they were suspended on suspicion of corruption. The heads of at least nine state-owned businesses have also been suspended following a government audit, and their future also is uncertain.

After weeks of speculation and reports in the Congolese press railing against rampant corruption, President Joseph Kabila Thursday called for the suspension of six ministers and the heads of nine state-owned companies.

On Friday, the country's parliament began debates over how to punish the ministers of mines, energy, public works, trade, transport and higher education.

The parliamentary investigation was set up after an audit of state companies found evidence of corruption and mismanagement, with some bosses reportedly earning more than $20,000 a month, while the companies they ran provided little or no services for the Congolese people.

As a result of the presidents actions, the heads of many of Congo's main utilities have been suspended.

The ministers targeted were accused of squandering state funds.

The ministers are part of a transitional government that was set up to guide the Congo toward elections next June, after a five-year war that sucked in six neighboring countries and killed three million people.

Relative peace has returned to the country, but the former belligerents remain deeply divided, and, many analysts say, are concentrating harder on filling their pockets while in power than organizing elections.