Congo: Congo president’s chief of staff denies graft charges as trial begins

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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(Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo)

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