On June 20, Vital Kamerhe, 61, former Chief of Staff to President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was found guilty of embezzling $48.8 million of public funds in collaboration with Lebanese businessman Jammal Samih, according to the court in Kinshasa. The judge handed a 20- year jail sentence to both Kamerhe and Jammal Samih. Kamerhe’s lawyer has said his client will appeal.
Kamerhe’s arrest has rocked the Congolese political establishment, according to Al-jazeera. He is the leader of the influential Union for the Congolese Nation party, which partnered with Tshisekedi to win the election in 2018. Analysts see the Kamerhe case as a bold step on Tshisekedi’s part to root out rampant corruption in Congo. Others – primarily from Kamerhe’s party – view the case as an attempt to limit Kamerhe’s presidential bid in 2023.