Congo-Kinshasa: Judge in Tshisekedi Ex-Aide Graft Case Dies

Court gavel

A Congolese judge handling the graft case against Vital Kamerhe, former top aide to President Felix Tshisekedi, has died.

Judge Raphael Yanyi was pronounced dead Wednesday morning on arrival at a hospital in the capital Kinshasa after he fell ill at his home at around 2am, police confirmed.

"The judge was a victim of a heart attack. He was not murdered, he was protected by the police, " Kinshasa police chief Sylvano Kasongo said.

Shortly after the announcement, residents staged a protest outside the judge's residence alleging foul play.

A day before his death, Judge Yanyi had directed the public hearing of Kamerhe's trial in $50 million graft case.

It was not immediately clear what will happen at trial following Yanyi's death.

Kamerhe, once a close ally of Tshisekedi, is accused of embezzling the funds allocated to public works during Tshisekedi's first 100 days in office. Kamerhe denies the charges.

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