US sanctions DR Congo Top election officials

March 22, 2019
| Report Focus News

The U.S. has sanctioned three top election officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo for alleged corruption tied to the long-delayed presidential election.

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 $100m (£75m) 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.

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 30 December 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.