The last words pronounced by Vital Kamerhe at the bar at the end of a fifth hearing, which was broadcast live, and very followed by the Congolese, who still echo this Friday morning. The man has fought tooth and nail against accusations that rain down against him. "I ask the court to note my innocence. Or the lawyers of the Republic or the public prosecutor, nobody has been able to prove the guilt of Mr. Vital Kamerhe, " says the director of the office talking to himself in the third person. "It is not me who attacked, but it is the president of the Republic ", he justified, remaining faithful to his line of defense. Will it be understood then that the end of the trial approach ? The tribunal will now deliberate and its decision is expected by June 20. It must determine, then, that during oral arguments the public prosecutor asked for the conviction of the director of the office of the head of State and political ally to twenty years penal servitude for embezzlement of public funds and 15 years for corruption.
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The public prosecutor's request for 20 years of hard labor
At 61-years-old, Vital Kamerhe is the main of the three accused to a trial without precedent for embezzlement and money laundering, accused of some 50 million dollars of public money. In preventive detention since 8 April, the director of the office is held in the grounds of the central prison in Kinshasa. As his two co-accused, he declared his innocence, denouncing a "political trial" and the "brutality and harassment" of the court against him. "It is not doing the right here. We are in the process of doing politics. This trial is political. It has not been able to demonstrate here by a piece of irrefutable the diversion of mr. Vital Kamerhe ", argues the astonished man that the prosecution has failed to prove material facts which are reproached to them.
The prosecutor had asked for twenty years of "forced labor" against him, as well as ten years deprivation of the right to vote and stand for election. The same sentence of twenty years was required against the first of his two co-defendants, the contractor lebanese Jammal Samih, age 78, of which more than 50 in the Congo.
The prosecution also asked for the "confiscation of funds" bank of the wife of Vital Kamerhe, of the latter's daughter and a cousin of the accused, as well as " confiscation of the real estate properties acquired with the misappropriated funds during the period ranging from January 2019 to this day ".
In the oral argument of the civil party, a lawyer from the democratic Republic of the Congo said that the couple, who married in February 2019 was acquired and renovated a mansion in France for more than a million euros.
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"The real justice will come from God"
a Native of the province of South Kivu (East), Vital Kamerhe is a central figure of political life in drc since the 2000s. Nominated candidate for the presidential election of December 30, 2018, it was abandoned in favour of Felix Tshisekedi a month before the election. The two men had entered into an agreement providing that Mr. Kamerhe becomes Prime minister and presidential candidate next in 2023.
once in power, Félix Tshisekedi had eventually appointed director of cabinet, front to reserve the post of Prime minister to a relative of his predecessor, Joseph Kabila, under another agreement policy.
The public money that Kamerhe is accused of embezzling was to finance part of the emergency work the program of "100 days" launched by the head of the State at the beginning of march 2019. This component focused on the construction of social housing units for the military, in the form of 1 500 homes, prefabricated and imported from Turkey. The market had been spent with Jammal Samih, who also requested his acquittal : "I am innocent," he said. The two men are on trial with a third accused, Jeannot Muhima, in charge of the service import-export at the presidency of the Republic, and the customs clearance of the imported goods.
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Detention arbitrary, suspicious death of Raphael Yanyi
From Paris, a collective of lawyers of Vital Kamerhe claimed to have seized a group of united Nations working on arbitrary detention ", in " seeking urgent intervention to ensure the respect of fundamental rights of Vital Kamerhe ". "There is no evidence of financial flow guilty," write in a press release Jean-Marie Kabengela and Me Pierre-Olivier Sur.
The two lawyers are also on the sudden death of a magistrate Raphael Yanyi in the night from 26 to 27 may, two days after presiding over the second hearing of the trial. Pending a report of the autopsy, "several sources" say that the magistrate was " poisoned and appoint mr. Vital Kamerhe as responsible ". "In this tense context, the prison authorities and the congolese are not able to guarantee the security" of Vital Kamerhe, believe the lawyers.
Vital Kamerhe has not officially resigned from his position as director of the cabinet, but acting – his assistant – was appointed. Similarly none of the allies of Vital Kamerhe as president of the Union for the congolese nation (UNC) party, which has several ministers in the coalition government of president Tshisekedi, has resigned to date.
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