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DRC: Tshisekedi’s government in a legal battle with Kalev Mutond

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Monday, 22 March 2021 13:22

Kalev Mutond, the former powerful Congolese intelligence boss. DR

The home of Kalev Mutond, the DRC's former head of the the intelligence agency 'Agence Nationale de Renseignements’ (ANR) was searched during the night of 10 to 11 March. He has since pleaded his case before a loyal government minister.

At 3am on 11 March, heavily armed police officers surrounded Kalev Mutond’s residence in Binza/Ma Campagne, located in the Joli Parc district of Ngaliema, Kinshasa.

According to our information, arrest and search warrants – which had been signed on 10 March by public prosecutor and magistrate Robert Kumbu Phanzu – were presented to his daughter, Isabelle Ihemba Kayombo, at around 5am. Phanzu had in fact been recused from this case on 8 March.

A series of raids

National deputy Kayombo, who also lives in the residence, agreed to accompany the police officers while they searched her father’s office, his vehicles, main house and two outbuildings. While they did not remove anything, they refused to leave copies of the two warrants.

A former director-general of the Agence Nationale de Renseignements (ANR), Mutond has received around a dozen complaints filed by people who present themselves as victims of former President Joseph Kabila’s rule. In a letter dated 12 February and addressed to Justin Inzun Kakiak, the current head of the ANR, the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Court of Appeal of Kinshasa/Gombe requested the latter’s approval – as required by law – to initiate proceedings against his predecessor.

Mutond’s letter

In a letter addressed to the prosecutor general on 23 February, which we were able to consult, Mutond wrote that Kakiak felt launching this procedure against his predecessor would be a bad idea.

According to our information, the same prosecutor general asked the prosecutor at the Court of Appeal of Kinshasa/Gombe on 11 March to “reassign” all of Mutond’s cases to another magistrate, for the “serenity” of justice. Mutond had argued that, as a former head of the ANR, he had the rank of minister and could not be judged by the Court of Cassation.

On the evening of 11 March, Mutond discreetly visited Kitenge Yesu, President Tshisekedi’s high representative. To help him plead his case, the former ANR boss was accompanied by Adolphe Lumanu, a former minister who has remained close to Kabila. Their host was not receptive to their approach and told Mutond to cooperate with the justice system. Thisekedi was later informed of this meeting.

Already under US sanctions since December 2016 and regularly targeted by human rights groups, Mutond is – according to this document – implicated for “physical and moral torture, arbitrary arrests, illegal detention, death threats, and the attempted assassination” of Jean-Claude Muyambo Kyassa, the former president of the Lubumbashi bar association who was arrested in 2015 and pardoned in early 2019, and Cyrille Doee Mumpapa. These two men have been fierce opponents of Kabila since 2015.

Mutond’s legal troubles began after he was arrested and had his passport confiscated in February 2020 at Ndjili international airport in Kinshasa. His team of lawyers, led by president of the bar Cyprien Mbere Moba, have denounced this “political-judicial and tribal relentlessness.”

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