Former DR Congo health minister Eteni Longondo, arrested in 2021 for allegedly embezzling funds allocated to the fight against Covid-19, was acquitted in court on Wednesday, his lawyer said.
Longondo, who ran the health ministry from 2019 to 2021, had been suspected by the Inspectorate General of Finances (IGF) of embezzling more than $7 million earmarked for the fight against the pandemic.
He spent around three weeks in pre-trial detention between August and September 2021, but has always denied embezzling funds.
“He was acquitted today by the Court of Cassation, which concluded that there was no evidence incriminating Mr Longondo”, his lawyer, Hugues Pulusi Eka, told AFP.
“Justice has prevailed, and that’s the most important thing”, the lawyer added.
President Felix Tshisekedi, who took office in January 2019, has vowed to make the fight against corruption a hallmark of his tenure.
The DRC ranks 166th out of 180 countries in the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index by the anti-graft NGO Transparency International.