Archive for Democratic Republic of Congo
Yoshimasa Tominaga, ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was effectively removed in response to the embezzlement of public funds by an embassy employee. The Foreign Ministry reprimanded Tominaga, 63, and ordered him to return home. Earlier this year Shinya Yamada, former third secretary at the embassy in Kinshasa, the capital of the African country, was arrested and indicted for allegedly embezzling about $260,000 in public money from the embassy. Yamada has also been charged with setting fire last June to the fourth floor of the building where the embassy was located. The ministry also admonished a 57-year-old first secretary at the embassy, who was responsible for accounting when the embezzlement happened.
A diplomat in charge of accounting at the Japanese embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was charged Tuesday with setting fire to the mission where $260,000 has gone missing. Shinya Yamada, 30, the third secretary at the embassy in Kinshasa, was arrested earlier this month in Tokyo over allegations he set the blaze in June. Tokyo prosecutors indicted Yamada on charges that he had poured gasoline on offices at the premises and then set light to them. Yamada told police he was trying to destroy the mission to cover up the fact that he had embezzled embassy money, local reports have said. Yamada was reportedly a regular at casinos in Kinshasa and frequently borrowed money from colleagues. Police believe he had taken embassy money to fuel his gambling habit and the arson was his bid to remove evidence of his crime.
Congolese war crimes suspect Bosco Ntaganda spent his first night in custody at the International Criminal Court Saturday, having turned himself in to face charges ranging from murder and rape to using child soldiers. The first ever suspect to voluntarily surrender to the ICC, Ntaganda is wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during his years as a warlord in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The man known as “The Terminator” walked into the US embassy in Rwanda on Monday and asked to be sent to the Hague-based court. Ntaganda was allegedly involved in the murder of at least 800 people in villages in the volatile east of the DR Congo. He is also accused of having kept child soldiers in his rebel army and using women as sex slaves between September 2002 and September 2003. He was taken into ICC custody in Kigali and flown to Rotterdam airport late on Friday. The ICC tweeted shortly after that “Bosco Ntaganda arrived to the ICC detention centre”, under Dutch police escort in The Hague’s seaside suburb of Scheveningen. US Secretary of State John Kerry hailed a major step for “justice and accountability.”
A top opposition figure in the Democratic Republic of Congo wanted by the government on treason charges is seeking asylum in the South African embassy in neighbouring Burundi, a spokesman for the Congolese government said. The government accuses Roger Lumbala, a Congolese MP and former rebel, of helping Rwanda support a rebellion in eastern Congo that has deepened political divisions in the capital Kinshasa. The worsening political chaos threatens to undermine President Joseph Kabila’s ability to push through reforms in the country – a potential mining and oil giant – after his re-election in flawed polls last year. Lambert Mende, a spokesman for the Congolese government, said Lumbala had been trying to gain asylum at the South African embassy in Bujumbura, the Burundian capital. Negotiations were under way to get Lumbala transferred to Kinshasa, Mende said, but there had been no response from South Africa. Officials from South Africa and Burundi were not immediately available for comment.
Police in Toronto and Ottawa had their hands full as they dealt with demonstrators protesting last week’s disputed presidential election in Congo. The protesters say the elections in the African country were fixed and they want leaders like Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama to take action. RCMP in Ottawa said three people were arrested and two taken into custody after protesters gathered outside the Congolese Embassy. Police used pepper spray to disperse those who tried to breach the police line in front of the embassy and RCMP used a conducted energy weapon during one arrest. Police said one of those taken into custody was charged with obstructing a police officer and one RCMP officer suffered minor injuries. Officials also said there was some minor damage to the embassy and police vehicles. Congo’s back-to-back civil wars in the 1990s consumed the region, and destroyed the nation whose population is now nudging 70 million. The country is ranked dead last on the United Nations’ global survey of human development.
An Uruguayan official says a U.S. embassy official in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has accused an Uruguayan army major stationed in the country with assault. The South American country has sent more than a thousand troops to Congo as part of a U.N. peacekeeping mission. Uruguayan Col. Mario Stevenazzi says the United Nations and the Uruguayan government are investigating the alleged assault, which he says doesn’t appear to be sexual in nature. Stevenazzi didn’t identify either the Uruguayan army major or the female U.S. embassy official involved in the alleged assault, which occurred at least two weeks ago. Uruguayan soldiers serving in another U.N. force in Haiti are also being investigated for an alleged assault involving a young Haitian man.
The wife of a Congolese diplomat says her husband instructed her to smuggle cigarettes from Serbiain to Romania. Esther Pascaline, who is charged with cigarette smuggling, told the court that her husband, second counselor for the Congolese embassy in Serbia Marc Marius Itela Elombola, instructed her to accompany a Serbian man and deliver the cigarettes in Romania for which she was due to receive (EURO)1,600 (US$2,260). In June, Romanian authorities found 1,800 cartons of smuggled cigarettes inside her car. Organized crime prosecutors charged Elombola in absentia and arrested his wife. Pascaline’s driver and two other Serb citizens were arrested and they risk prison sentences of up to seven years.