The chief of staff to Democratic Republic of Congo’s president denied all wrongdoing on Monday as his trial on charges of embezzling more than $50 million (£40.5 million) in public funds opened live on national television.
Vital Kamerhe, who appeared at a two-hour hearing wearing prison fatigues and a surgical mask as protection against the coronavirus, is the most senior politician to face trial for graft in Congo, where high-level corruption is endemic.
Kamerhe backed President Felix Tshisekedi in his successful 2018 election campaign in return for Tshisekedi’s support the next time around in 2023. The veteran power-broker’s arrest on April 8 sent shock waves through the country’s ruling coalition.
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