US Bans ‘Corrupt’ Kabila Officials; DRC Loses Over $15 Billion In Graft

The US State Department has imposed visa bans on a number of Congolese officials accused of corruption or electoral malpractice.

The BBC reports that the US State Department declined to name those targeted, but said the move was intended to send a strong signal that Washington was committed to fighting corruption and to supporting credible elections.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is to hold a much-delayed presidential election in December to choose a successor to Joseph Kabila.

His second and final term in office ended in 2016 but many suspect he is trying to stay in power.

According to reports, corruption costs the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at least $15 billion each year, or around three times its annual budget.

“It’s an open secret that corruption exists and it is seriously eating away at institutions,” Emmanuel Luzolo Bambi, a government official, told the UN’s news website Okapi.

“I have always said loud and clear that each year we lose at least 15 billion” from corruption and misappropriation of public funds, he said.

The DRC, of which Kabila has been president since 2001, has the reputation of being one of the world’s poorest, most volatile and graft-riddled countries.

In Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index, the DRC ranked 161 out of 180 countries.

However, estimates of the financial loss from corruption are hard
to quantify — a former Congolese prime minister, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said the figure of $15 billion was “plucked out of the air”.

The DRC’s 2018 budget is around $5 billion. The country has a gross domestic product (GDP) of about $40 billion, or nearly a 10th of that of Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest economy.
The World Bank estimates per capita annual income at $450, or 225th out of 237 economies surveyed.

BBC AFRICA/NEW INDIA EXPRESS

Comments are closed.