The office of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) president, Joseph Kabila, has sent files of senior government officials accused of corruption to the attorney general for prosecution, according to Information Minister Lambert Mende.
With this move, Mende says, Kabila demonstrates a commitment to root out corruption as well as keep the promise he made in parliament to citizens.
“It was a message to say that enough is enough. We have to stop this [corruption] in our country. The president talks about anti-corruption every year when he gives his speech in parliament; but now, his office has a special adviser and this guy is acting as he was asked to do,” said Mende.
He says the special adviser to Kabila on anti-corruption, former justice minister Luzolo Bambi, compiled the list of the allegedly corrupt officials.
Local media have suggested that the names of at least 15 names, including those of five governors, were submitted to the attorney general.
Moses Katumbi, the governor of the mineral-rich Katanga province in the country’s southeast and Beya Siku, current ambassador to Belgium and was a former Cabinet director to Kabila, were mentioned by local media as being part of the list.
Mende dismissed the report as speculation.
“What we can say is that some files have been sent to the prosecutor’s office; but, to tell you names of people, this is something we can’t because they didn’t disclose the names. Of course it is for the prosecutor to disclose the names after some cross-checking,” he said.
“The press is now giving names and trying to make some analysis but this is something that is official; but, what is sure is that the president’s office sent files to the attorney general to make inquiries. Until now, we can’t confirm the names because they have been [sealed],” he continued.
Critics have questioned the timing of the anti-corruption action, saying it appears Kabila is going after those he perceives are against his controversial re-election bid.
They also said Katumbi is being roped in because of his popularity and speculation that he could succeed Kabila.
“He appointed the special adviser for anti-corruption actions, I think two months ago, and this is the first action from this anti-corruption special adviser to the president," he said. "So to tell you why is difficult because he has [been] in the office for two months and he is starting his business. If no names have been disclosed by the president’s office or by the attorney general’s office, everything is just speculation.”