US sanctions DRC election officials over 'theft of Sh10bn'

Saturday March 23 2019

Ceni boss Corneille Nangaa

DRC's electoral commission President Corneille Nangaa Yobeluo during a press conference on the postponed elections at the Independent National Election Commission headquarters in Kinshasa on December 20, 2018. PHOTO | ISSOUF SANOGO AND LUIS TATO | AFP 

BBC
By BBC
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The US department of treasury has issued new sanctions against three officials of the Democratic Republic of Congo electoral commission, Ceni.

These sanctions relate to the two-year delay in holding general elections originally scheduled in 2016.

It comes a month after a visa ban was announced against the same officials and other high-profile members of former President Joseph Kabila's government.

The US says that under Corneille Nangaa's leadership, Ceni officials inflated the cost of the electronic voting machine contract by as much as $100 million (£75 million; KSh10 billion) for their own personal enrichment, and to fund the campaign of Mr Kabila’s hand-picked candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, ahead of last year's election.

OTHER ACCUSATIONS

Ceni's deputy head Norbert Basengezi Katintima is accused of withdrawing $80,000 from operational funds for his personally-owned hospital, which also had the contract for medical care for all the commission's employees.

He is also accused of bribing investigators to conduct an inaccurate audit of their financial activities.

His son Macellin Basengezi is accused of selling fuel for the voter registration teams which delayed the process in Kasai, an opposition stronghold.

This meant many voters weren’t able to take part in the elections.

Felix Tshisekedi was declared the winner of the December 30 presidential election which was marred by allegations of vote rigging.

The electoral commission has not responded to the BBC's request for a comment on the allegations.