AFRICA: DRC Senate Votes Not To Lift Ex-PM’s Immunity In Graft Probe

Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon answers journalists questions during an interview, on November 14, 2012 in Paris, on the occasion of his three-day official visit to France. AFP PHOTO PIERRE VERDY (Photo credit should read PIERRE VERDY/AFP via Getty Images)

DR Congo’s Senate voted on Friday against lifting the immunity of former prime minister Augustin Matata Ponyo for a probe into embezzlement of public funds, dealing a blow to the president’s anti-corruption drive.

Matata Ponyo is the latest public figure to come under scrutiny over alleged corruption since President Felix Tshisekedi took office in January 2019.

But the Senate kept his immunity in place, saying the Constitutional Court which made the request was not competent to try a parliamentarian, a senator who took part in the closed-doors plenary said. according AFP

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Constitutional Court serves as the criminal tribunal for the president and the prime minister while in office.

After resigning as prime minister in 2016, Matata Ponyo became a senator. For criminal proceedings, senators come under the jurisdiction of the Court of Cassation.
In November, the state spending watchdog, the IGF, reported that $205 million had been plundered out of $285 million disbursed for a pilot agro-industrial scheme in Bukangalonzo, 250 kilometres (155 miles) southeast of the capital.

The IGF implicated Matata Ponyo in its report, saying he was “intellectual author” of the crime.

He has denied the accusations and his lawyer Safari Mulume said on Friday that he had lodged a complaint against the IGF’s head and three other financial investigators over “slanderous” claims.

Tags : DRCMatata Ponyo
Adewale Adenrele

The author Adewale Adenrele

Journalist, PR, Researcher, Tourism& Cultural promoter, Social commentator. Correspondent @Africandevmag

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