News – National | 2021-12-29
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s former president Joseph Kabila is threatening to sue The Namibian over two articles published in the newspaper this month.
Kabila’s media representatives announced this in a public statement on Tuesday.
The Namibian and 18 media organisations across the globe, including the BBC and Bloomberg, have reported about a leak of 3,5 million bank documents that show how billions of dollars were diverted from the treasury of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through a web of businesses linked to Kabila and his inner circle.
Now, Kabila is threatening to sue The Namibian over two articles, headlined ‘DRC’s lost billions traced to Namibia’ and ‘Kabila’s secret Namibian trip’.
“Ex-president [Kabila] has instructed lawyers in Windhoek and Johannesburg to sue The Namibian for defamation,” Kabila’s media representative Lebo Radebe, of Sgwilli Media Group, said in a statement.
“The ex-president has appointed Dali Mpofu of South Africa to assemble and lead his legal team,” Radebe said.
According to Radebe, one of the articles alleges that a commercial transaction between the companies Egal and Samaki Fishing was camouflaged as a transaction involving the import and export of frozen food when in fact its true purpose was nefarious.
“It is claimed that Albert Yuma of Gecamines, Marc Piedboeuf, Eric Monga, Haddis Tilahun and Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun are directors of Samaki Fishing. The company allegedly delivered only N$4 million worth of products to the DRC, while it received N$516 million from Egal for a four-year period,” Radebe stated.
The statement says the article links Kabila to Samaki Fishing and Egal because of the “protagonists and not through any shred of evidence”.
“The Namibian reached its defamatory statements against the ex-president by presenting ‘facts’ with a sleight of hand. The Namibian made crucial but wrong assumptions in reaching its conclusions. We shall dispel two wrong ‘facts’ relating to Egal and Albert Yuma, as both go to the heart of the article”.
Kabila’s representatives claim The Namibian deliberately and with intent to injure Kabila’s reputation failed to report that an investigation has cleared him of any wrongdoing in respect of Egal.
The statement also distanced Kabila from a property in Namibia.
“The Namibian claimed that the ex-president owns a luxurious 36-hectares hilltop estate at Brakwater through Sycamore Investments CC. This statement is false and devoid of any truth.”
A leak of documents known as the ‘Congo Hold-Up’ was given to the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa and the French online newspaper Mediapart.
They shared it with the European Investigative Collaborations network, which coordinated a consortium of journalists representing 19 media houses, including The Namibian, in reporting on the documents.