This is a new judicial episode in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This time around, the case of alleged embezzlement affects the education sector. Two senior officials from the Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Technical Education (EPST) are being prosecuted before the Kinshasa – Gombe Court of Appeal sitting in a fairground within the confines of Makala prison in Kinshasa.
From our correspondent in Kinshasa, Pascal Mulegwa
The trial started yesterday with a first hearing broadcast on public television throughout the day. The case further shows weaknesses in the control and management of public finances.
The prosecution relied on the report of the General Inspectorate of Finance which implicated a dozen people but only Michel Djamba, inspector general of EPST and Delon Kampay the director of the Teachers’ Pay and Control Service (SECOPE), have been charged and placed in detention since January at the Kinshasa Penitentiary Reeducation Center (CPRK, also called Makala central prison).
According to the prosecution, the sums allegedly embezzled by Michel Djamba, the boss of public education inspectors, are colossal. More than 10 million USD of which more than half by withdrawals “ irregular »And without supporting documents. But before the judges, the accused rejected these accusations en bloc. He claimed to have all the evidence.
He defended himself alleging in particular that certain expenses were made for I quote “ save the honor of the country », In particular for the organization of theIT ISstate in the midst of Covid-19 last year. For his lawyers, the IGF investigations at the basis of the prosecution did not take into account the explanations of their client.
Civil party teachers’ unions
The other defendant, the boss of teachers’ payroll, Delon Kampay, is meanwhile being sued for embezzling more than $ 6 million in operating costs for his service for the first two quarters of last year. At the opening of the investigation, the judges did not look into his case. The defendant mentioned health reasons.
The two defendants applied for provisional release. The hearings will resume on Tuesday, but for the teachers’ unions formed as civil party with the state, this trial is only the beginning. They say they are waiting for justice to look into the financing of free primary education.
The World Bank has suspended funding of $ 100 million intended for this government program after revelations of fraud either by inflated lists of fictitious teachers in non-existent schools or then of false invoices, as well as alleged embezzlement of more than 30 million dollars.