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Congo Police Investigate Former PM for Corruption

Democratic Republic of Congo PM Adolphe Muzito (L) and former minister Godefroid Mayobo attend the extraordinary session of the National Assembly in Kinshasa, February 16, 2012.
Democratic Republic of Congo PM Adolphe Muzito (L) and former minister Godefroid Mayobo attend the extraordinary session of the National Assembly in Kinshasa, February 16, 2012.
KINSHASA - Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo said they are investigating allegations that former prime minister Adolphe Muzito enriched himself from public funds.

An inspector-general of Congo’s judicial police, Christophe Ndongo Nzita, said the investigation of Muzito has been going on for several weeks and a report is expected in the near future.

Ndongo said he could confirm that the investigation was launched nearly a month ago following allegations made by a former member of parliament, Gecoco Mulumba, and a report of the investigation’s findings would be submitted to the state prosecutor very soon.

Back in February, Gerard Gecoco Mulumba, an MP for the governing PPRD party, resigned his seat in parliament after publicly accusing former prime minister Muzito of illicit enrichment from public funds.

Mulumba explained why he took the unusual step of resigning his seat.

He said he resigned because he could not sit with someone like Muzito, who in his words, had killed the country.

Adolphe Muzito became prime minister in 2009 and resigned in March of this year, three months after elections in which he was elected as an MP for PALU, one of the parties in the governing alliance.

Mulumba claimed that the former prime minister left the country in a deplorable state. He said Muzito left the population without a single publicly-owned bicycle, canoe, motorbike or bus.

And, he has called on Muzito to declare his assets and explain how they were acquired.

He said the ex-prime minister owns more than 100 houses and apartment buildings, including buildings in New York and apartments in Washington.

He also said Muzito owned an aviation company, Banair, which was a joint venture between Technafrique, a company he put in his wife’s name, and another company, Bureco. Mulumba said Muzito’s wife set up Technafrique with a capital of $15,000 and after 13 months this capital had mysteriously been transformed into more than $1.6 million.

According to Mulumba, the company must have been created for the purpose of illicit enrichment and must have been funded with laundered money.

In March, a lawyer for Muzito, Tshibangu Kalala, said that as the former prime minister had served as budget minister as well as premier, it was natural for him to have personal income to invest in property in Kinshasa. Kalala told the media that the former prime minister reserved the right to sue the MP Mulumba for defamation.

As yet it appears Muzito has not taken legal action against his accuser, or even responded to the accusations in public. VOA put Mulumba’s accusations to a member of PALU, Muzito’s party. Patrick Muyaya is also the former prime minister’s son-in-law.

"No, it’s not true, it’s a kind of rumor, gossip. That’s why the prime minister Muzito cannot react for things like that," Muyaya responded. "Prime minister Muzito had a life before he became prime minister. He was budget minister then he became prime minister. It’s normal, maybe with his work, his network, his relationships, [that] he can build something in this country. There is I think no problem there."

Asked how he could explain the allegation that Mr Muzito owns more than 100 houses, Muyaya suggested he did not know the extent of the former prime minister’s wealth.

"You know, I can’t confirm this allegation because I really don’t know - me too - how [much] the prime minister can have in private," Muyaya said. "I don’t know, but he’s a man who works for 10, 15, even 25 years. Maybe before he became prime minister, maybe he can have some things."

Muzito has frequently been under fire because of his management of public funds, although this is the first time judicial sources have confirmed he is under investigation. In 2009, President Joseph Kabila even revoked the former prime minister’s right to authorize public expenditures, after an outcry caused by the purchase of 4 by 4 vehicles for his personal entourage.

Although he has resigned as an MP, Gecoco Mulumba has not given up his membership of the president’s party, suggesting that the investigation into Muzito’s affairs has been launched with the president’s approval.