Congo-Kinshasa: Senior Aide to President Denies Embezzling Millions at Opening of His Trial

Judge's gavel used in court (file photo).

The chief of staff to Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi denied embezzling more than $50 million in public funds at a brief opening of his trial Monday.

The president of the court then postponed Vital Kamerhe's trial for two weeks, until May 25, while the investigation into the case continues.

Kamerhe, the most senior politician to go on trial for corruption in the Congo, is seeking to be released on bail until his trial resumes. He has been in custody for just over a month.

Kamerhe denied prosecutors claims that he stole money earmarked for public housing under President Tshisekedi's flagship 100-day building program, which he managed with other top government staffers.

Kamerhe faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

Two other suspects, including a top aide to president Tshisekedi and a Lebanese businessman, also pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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