DRC: Former minister Willy Bakonga released after 7 months in prison in Kinshasa

The former minister of Education of the Democratic Republic of Congo Willy Bakonga, sentenced in March to three years in prison for “money laundering”, was released thanks to a presidential pardon, according to his defence.
Mr Bakonga “was released” last night (Thursday), “he benefited from a presidential favour”, said without further details, one of his lawyers on condition of anonymity.
According to the UN mission in the DRC, Radio Okapi, which quoted prison sources, three other prisoners, like Mr Bakonga, “benefited from a presidential pardon”.
Mr Bakonga was sentenced to three years in prison on 30 April for “money laundering” and “illegal transfer of capital abroad” by the Court of Cassation, which in the DRC judges in the first and last instance.
His son Joël Bakonga was sentenced to six months in prison in the same case. They were imprisoned in Makala, the large prison in Kinshasa.
The two men were arrested in Brazzaville on a plane bound for Paris and extradited to Kinshasa. They were in possession of US$30,000.
A few days before his arrest in mid-April, Mr Bakonga was wanted by the prosecutor’s office in connection with the alleged embezzlement of funds intended for free public primary education, a key measure of President Félix Tshisekedi’s five-year term. He was not subsequently prosecuted for this case.
A former Minister of Sports under former President Joseph Kabila, Mr Bakonga then held the portfolio of Primary and Secondary Education of the DRC from August 2019 to April 2021 in the first government team of Félix Tshisekedi.

About Geraldine Boechat 2039 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia