The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is investigating corruption allegations against former president Joseph Kabila, related to the alleged disappearance of $138-million in state funds during his tenure.
These allegations were first exposed last week by journalists and researchers who are part of a global investigation known as Congo Hold-Up. The investigation was based on the leak of some 3.5-million documents that showed a pattern of seemingly corrupt transactions involving Kabila’s inner circle and BGFIBank, central Africa’s largest bank.
The leak was obtained by the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa and the French investigative unit, Mediapart, and shared with the European Investigative Collaborations network. The documents were trawled through by a consortium of investigators representing 19 media houses in 18 countries, as well as five NGOs.
Government spokesperson and Communications Minister Patrick Muyaya confirmed that an investigation had been launched. “We, as a government, cannot remain on the sidelines in the light of such allegations,” he told the news agency AFP.
Kabila did not respond to requests for comment prior to publication of the investigation, and has made no formal statement subsequently. BGFIBank’s holding company, in a statement released this week, questioned the authenticity of the documents but added that “it strongly condemns acts contrary to the law and to ethics which may have been committed in the past … of which its employees could possibly have been perpetrators or accomplices to varying degrees.”