The Director of Cabinet of the President of the Republic, Vital Kamerhe, has been in pre-trial detention since Wednesday, April 8, at Makala central prison. He was taken there after his hearing on the management of funds allocated to the 100-day work of the President of the Republic. However, his lawyers are screaming at a scandal in this case which demonstrated “his political color”. They therefore plead for the depoliticization of this file so that the truth comes out. In addition, the lawyers denounce the conditions of detention of the Director of Cabinet of the Head of State who, according to them, is placed in a collective room of at least 16 people, without air conditioning. Worse, they add, the prison authorities do not concede any VIP room to Vital Kamerhe who, until proof to the contrary, remains Félix Tshisekedi’s chief of staff.
The lawyers of the Director of Cabinet of the President of the Republic, denounce a dark hand in the file which led their client to prison. For Mr. John Kaboto, this is a purely political matter. ‘’ There is a dark hand. This is a purely political matter. Because Mr. Vital Kamerhe is a Director of Cabinet in office, he has a well-known residence, his flight is not to be feared. These are the three elements that can motivate the investigating judge in the case, ’said the lawyer, who assisted Vital Kamerhe during his hearing. Where the instructor leaves the room for more than 30 minutes. “We think this is where the order for the arrest of the chief of staff was given,” he notes. For him, the response to the public prosecutor’s invitation clearly shows that Mr. Vital Kamerhe was absolutely committed to cooperating or collaborating with the justice system. ‘’ But, hold it that way, we denoted the dark hand. Especially the withdrawal of the instructing magistrate who went to communicate for about thirty minutes. This is what proved that the decision would come from a political plot and not from a purely judicial file ’’, continues Mr. John Kaboto. The latter also castigates the fact that the instructor was asking questions that had nothing to do with the 100-day record. ‘’ There was even questions about the private life of the Chief of Staff. An instruction with almost 51 questions, go figure it out. However, despite this, the Director of Cabinet answered all of the questions with great success. After asking more than 51 questions, this investigating magistrate came out leaving us with Vital Kamerhe to return after 30 minutes, ’he laments.
‘’ So far, there have not yet been any offenses. Our client still enjoys the presumption of innocence because we are not in court so that we are faced with a court decision incriminating him in one way or another. What was curious in this case, first of all, was the fact of limiting the number of lawyers (3) who were to assist Mr. Vital Kamerhe. The instruction was sanctioned by 51 questions put to Mr. Kamerhe on the realisation of works, progress of works and disbursement of funds. What surprised us was that, they went ultra petita, that is to say, asking questions that have nothing to do with the 100-day program, “said John Katobo.
Lawyers Prepare Defense
John Katobo said that the group of lawyers for the Director of the President’s Office and the National President of the Union for the Congolese Nation are hard at work preparing the defense. ‘’ We are preparing (organising) to intervene in a council chamber to regularise his detention. As we are procedural, we must introduce a letter requesting his provisional release. He will continue to cooperate with justice. He must appear at all times whenever the Magistrate needs him, ” he said.
No resignation on the agenda
‘’ M. Kamerhe was invited to inform the justice. For your information, the file was already closed and sent to the public prosecutor’s office near the cassation. It was after a fortnight that the attorney general for the cassation was able to return the file with the annotations. And, moreover, when the examining magistrate was inviting the actors who were able to intervene in the file 100 days, Mr. Kamerhe was not invited because the magistrate had not found opportunities to “ Call, especially since the testimony of the others was quite clear, ” he said. And to continue that the question of resignation of the Director of Cabinet is not yet on the agenda.
Clearly, Vital Kamerhe’s lawyers denounce the attitudes of Congolese justice. ‘’… We deplore the behavior of our justice. Never mind, there must be a minimum of respect for human rights. He is a father, someone who works a lot for the nation and especially that his flight is not to be feared. What we are asking for is his provisional release because he has not been charged. In any case neither closely, nor far in this file. He was invited only to inform the justice. And, we find it a humiliation. These are political calculations that we deplore. The file must be depoliticised, ” he concludes.
Put under provisional arrest warrant ‘‘ for financial embezzlement ’’ on the emergency works file of the Head of State, Vital Kamerhe finally spoke during the last hearing at Makala central prison. This hearing followed the request for provisional release made by his lawyers. Immediately, and with the back of his hand, the Director of the Head of State’s cabinet dismissed all the charges brought against him. Vital Kamerhe asserts that all public contracts concluded between the DRC and third parties have been inherited from the Tshibala Government, and that no over-the-counter public contract bears his signature. With regard to the drug case, Kamerhe maintains that the prosecution is wrong to hold him responsible in this case. Because, he says, it was the current Minister of Public Health, Eteni Longondo, who had the drugs assessed and who declared them to be in conformity. Kamerhe adds, moreover, that there was a whole team responsible for supervising the work. And, in this one, there are ministers in office like Thomas Luhaka, Willy Ngoopos and the Governor of the Central Bank of Congo, Déo Gratias Mutombo. “It is not the responsibility of the chief of staff of the head of state to monitor the allocation of funds paid directly by the Central Bank into the accounts of these companies,” he said.
While the majority of Congolese expected provisional release from the Director of the Office of the President of the Republic, opinion was surprised to find that the court rather extended the provisional arrest warrant of the National President of the Union for the Congolese Nation. This, despite the explanations provided by Vital Kamerhe and the means presented by his lawyers.
To the complaints against him, the Director of the Office of the President of the Republic did not fail to respond. He immediately dismissed all the charges against him, reports the otherwise unreferenced order from the Kinshasa / Matete Peace Court ruling in chambers on the request for provisional release.
Beyond that, Vital Kamerhe presented his version of the facts, rejecting responsibility on other public figures, stating that “the public contracts which exist between the Republic and third parties have been inherited from the Tshibala government and no public contract will willfully bears my signature ”.
Regarding the funds which, according to the Public Prosecutor, have disappeared from the banking circuit, the leader of the UNC did not go by the back of the spoon: ” it is not the responsibility of the Director of Cabinet the Head of State to monitor the allocation of funds paid directly by the central bank into the accounts of said companies, because there is a whole team that was responsible for supervising the work. Here, he has named certain members of this team by name. In particular, Thomas Luhaka and Willy Ngoopos, who have succeeded one another at the head of the Infrastructure and Public Works portfolio in the last two compositions of the Central Executive. He also cited Déo Mutombo, Governor of the Central Bank of Congo, not without criticizing the fact that these three actors “are in no way worried”.
In the case of medicines – expired, says the public prosecutor – Kamerhe was quick in declaring that: “it is wrong that the Prosecutor’s Office makes him responsible in this case”.
According to President Fatshi’s main ally, the responsibility rests on the shoulders of the current Minister of Health, Dr. Eteni Longondo. It was he “who had the medicines assessed and who declared in the Council of Ministers that the products were compliant”. It was always Eteni who “received them and made them available to the population”.
This line of defense for Vital Kamerhe has allowed his lawyers to argue that the charges against him are based on guesswork and are in no way offensive as long as there is no serious evidence of guilt.
Despite the legitimacy of their client’s request for provisional release, considering his availability to collaborate with justice until the close of the investigation of this case, the Kinshasa / Matete Peace Court ordered the preventive detention of Vital Kamerhe for a period of 15 days in the central prison of Makala ”. Master, the hierarchy has already decided… ”
On the side of the collective of lawyers of Vital Kamerhe, one supports the hypothesis according to which “one should not continue to use justice to settle the accounts with a political adversary. This is also the rule of law. “