President Tshisekedi’s Director of Cabinet, Vital Kamerhe, has described his arrest and detention as politically motivated by his enemies.
He made the statement on Sunday during a long interrogation by prosecutors in the Congolese Capital Kinshasa
Kamerhe, who belongs to UNC political party that allied with Tshisekedi’s UDPS party in the 2018 presidential election. Both agreed to stamp out corruption.
The powerful politician was arrested on Wednesday in connection with gross fraud of a $304 million infrastructure project set aside by President Felix Tshisekedi for his first 100 days in office.
On Sunday, Kamerhe who also heads the Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC) political party was returned to the prosecutors for further grilling.
The politician denied having a hand in the swindling of President’s money and challenged anyone with evidence to produce it. His defense is hinged on four main submissions including;
“All the public contracts that exist between the Republic and third parties have been inherited from the Tshibala Government [former Prime Minster Bruno Tshibala],” he said.
Kamerhe told Prosecutors that “No contract for the award of an over-the-counter public contract bears his signature.”
“It is not the responsibility of a director of the cabinet of the head of state, of his state, to monitor the allocation of funds paid directly by the bank into the accounts of said companies,” Kamerhe added.
In his fourth point of defence, Kamerhe said, “there is a whole team that was responsible for supervising the work, of which the ministers in office are part.”
This cunning politician is accused of stealing President Tshisekedi’s money through diverting a mechanism of awarding public contracts over the counter to fictitious companies including Samibo (47 million USD) and Trade Plus ($10million).
Samibo Congo is a company owned by Jammal Samih a Lebanese businessman. He has also been in prison for several days before Kamhere was seized in connection with this fraud.
This Lebanese businessman has been unable to justify the use of some $17 million forwarded to Samibo-Congo company account earmarked for the construction of social housing.
Meanwhile, hours after Kamerhe was placed behind the coolers, another vital accomplice in this big fraud Thierry Taeymans the Managing Director of Rawbank was also arrested and transferred to Malaka Prison.
The Rawbank CEO’s arrest is directly linked to the dealings with Samibo-Congo in this large fraud.
During his hearing, Rawbank’s MD “was able to answer questions from the magistrates and presented a full transparent account of Rawbank’s activities in the case,” the bank claimed, adding, “Like each of the operations carried out by the bank, Rawbank says it has complied with all regulations in force”.
Safricas managing director David Blattner, as well as the managing director of the Roads Office, are also in custody at Makala prison.
According to the Congolese court believes in the present case, there are serious indications of guilt against Kamerhe and his accomplices.
“There is an absolute necessity to place the suspects in preventive detention as investigations continue,” said the Sunday ruling issued by the Matete Peace Tribunal.
The 15-day pre-trial detention according to the Congolese law may be extended for one month and so on as long as it is in public interest.
Kamerhe is also accused of fraud in procurement of drugs. argued that the prosecution is wrong to make him responsible in this case because it is the current Minister of Health Eteni Longondo.
He argues that the minister had the drugs assessed and it is him that declared in the Council of Ministers that the products were in conformity and that it was he who had received them and made available to the population. Kamerhe said that he was not responsible for anything regarding the procurement of drugs.