DR Congo anti-graft chief held in corruption case

A man rides a bicycle past placards reading "Stop Corruption" set by the M23 rebels on a road in in Bunagana, near Rutshuru, on October 17, 2012. Two rebel groups active in the Democratic Republic of Congo's restive east, the M23 and FDLR, have formed an alliance and clashed with the country's military, an army spokesman said on October 17. AFP PHOTO / Junior D.Kannah (Photo credit should read Junior D. Kannah/AFP/Getty Images)

The head of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s new anti-corruption agency was arrested on Friday after his organisation was accused of taking $30,000 from the Congolese affiliate of a Nigerian bank.

Ghislain Kikangalao, coordinator of the APLC anti-corruption agency “has been placed in preventative detention for the requirements of the enquiry,” the agency’s spokeswoman Chouna Lomponda told AFP.

Kikangala was summoned to the prosecutor’s office in the afternoon, according to a letter seen by AFP.

The APLC was created by presidential decree in March “to track down financial crime” in a country where corruption is endemic.

However after just months in existence the agency found itself at the heart of a scandal involving an affiliate of Nigeria’s Access Bank.

The APLC had accused Access Bank of “money laundering and financing terrorism”, in effect substituting itself for the legal system, a lawyer for the bank said Wednesday.

On December 10, APLC agents told the bank’s head, Arinze Osuashala, to place a $50,000 bond after detaining him and taking away his passport. before eventually taking $30,000, the lawyer Cibambo Amani said.

The DR Congo presidency, in a statement, mentioned video footage in which people claiming to represent the APLC were handed a sum of money.

The APLC confirmed that it had taken the $30,000 as bail and held on to the bank official’s passport.