US sanctions Congo election officials

first_img…says they obstructed voteThe United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on three senior officials from Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission, accusing them of corruption and obstructing December’s presidential election.The US Treasury said in a statement that the commission’s organization of the Dec. 30 election, which led to Congo’s first ever transfer of power via the ballot box, “failed to ensure the vote reflected the will of the Congolese people.”Even so, the statement stopped short of calling into question the legitimacy of President Felix Tshisekedi’s victory, despite what sources told Reuters was outright rigging to deny runner-up Martin Fayulu the win.The US sanctions target commission President Corneille Nangaa, Vice President Norbert Basengezi and Marcellin Mukolo Basengezi, an adviser to Nangaa and son of Norbert Basengezi.Nangaa and Norbert Basengezi were not immediately available for comment. Marcellin Mukolo Basengezi could not be reached for comment.The Treasury statement focused on what it said were efforts by the three “to obstruct and delay preparations” for the election, which had originally been due in 2016, and corruption related to procurement of voting machines and other materials.File photo: President of Congo’s National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), Corneille Nangaa, speaks during a press conference announcing the results of the presidential election in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, January 10, 2019 (REUTERS/Jackson Njehia)Former President Joseph Kabila was required by the constitution to step down in December 2016 following an election to choose his successor, but the commission repeatedly postponed the vote, citing logistical obstacles.Treasury said the three officials facilitated the delays by embezzling money meant to finance the vote into shell companies and accused Nangaa and Norbert Basengezi of bribing justices on Congo’s top court to approve an election delay in 2016.It also said that commission officials, under Nangaa’s leadership, inflated by as much as $100 million the cost of electronic voting machines “with the intent to use surplus funds for personal enrichment, bribes, and campaign costs to fund the election campaign of Kabila’s candidate.”Kabila’s preferred candidate, former Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, finished a distant third in the official results.Congolese sources in contact with Nangaa and other senior government officials told Reuters that Fayulu actually won the election but that top officials instructed the commission to award the vote to Tshisekedi, who the Kabila’s camp viewed as less hostile to its interests.Kabila and Tshisekedi’s camps both deny the vote was rigged.The United States sharply criticized the conduct of the election but eventually recognized Tshisekedi’s victory and said it was committed to working with his Government. (Reuters)last_img read more

REVEALED: TAXI DRIVER CLUE TO MADELEINE McCANN DISAPPEARANCE

first_imgMadeleine in Donegal, pictured second from left in April 2007. She disappeared in Portugal two weeks laterA taxi driver who says he could help solve the mystery of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance says he wants to tell British police about seeing the three-year-old the night after she vanished.Antonio Castela claims he picked up three men, a woman and a girl who looked like the missing three-year-old near the Spanish border in the Algarve.He has previously claimed he told Portuguese detectives what he saw, but was not questioned, even though a lawyer for Madeleine’s parents said he could provide vital clues. British police are expected to arrive in Portugal next month to investigate the girl’s disappearance. Madeleine’s grandparents are from Donegal and she spent the Easter here before her tragic disappearance in May 2007.Mr Castela, 73, said: “I want to tell them what I saw and assist in the investigation. I remember all the details. I would be very happy if the police re-open the investigation and if I could help in this case. This case has haunted me for a long time.”He says he picked up the men, woman and child at 7.50pm, an hour’s drive away.He took them two miles to the Hotel Apolo in his neighbourhood, Vila Real de Santo António, near Faro, where they got into a blue BMW and drove away. He said: “In 2007 I called police and told them what I had seen. Since then, no one from the police has spoken to me or showed interest in my story. No one came to collect my statement.”He said he recalls Madeleine, in pink pyjamas, sitting on one of the men’s laps, and he noticed the “black spot” — a distinctive mark in her right eye. “I think my story may give a clue that has not been followed. I do not know what happened to Maddy, but I know that day, she was still alive in my cab.”The Met has identified 38 potential suspects, including 12 Britons “of interest” who were in Portugal when Maddy vanished. REVEALED: TAXI DRIVER CLUE TO MADELEINE McCANN DISAPPEARANCE was last modified: August 17th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Algarvedisappearancemadeleine mccannportugaltaxi-driverlast_img read more