June 21, 2024

EU report claims DRC election commission mismanaged state funds – JURIST

The report, issued Monday, highlighted a 25.1 percent increase in the expenses of the electoral body during the 2016-2019 and 2021-2024 electoral cycles. Also as per the report, the fiscal inconsistencies observed in the financial transactions have prompted alarm, suggesting potential issues related to money laundering and terrorist financing. Of particular note in the report is the significant gap between the amounts reported by CENI and the corresponding disbursements from the public treasury, raising questions about the transparency and integrity of the electoral funding process.

In addition, the report shed light on dubious procurement practices carried out by CENI. The lack of transparency surrounding the nature of contracts and the opaque awarding process has further undermined the credibility of the electoral body.  These findings raise serious concerns about the integrity and efficiency of the electoral body’s operations during the specified timeframe.

“Public funds have been very badly used, or perhaps they have gone into obscure pockets, Valery Madianga, a public finance expert and one of the lead researchers of the report, said to Reuters. She added, “The chain of use of these funds has remained opaque, and this may have an impact on the results (of the election).”

The report was funded by the European Union and was conducted by the Center for Research in Public Finance and Local Development.

Congo has recently been marred by political turmoil, with opposing parties and candidates rebuking the election process held last December and is also contesting the election result which has re-elected the incumbent president Felix Tshisekedi. CENI has affirmed to the credibility of poll results. 

Yet, the irregularities in the polling process have brought many questions to the election commission’s accountability and transparency with respect to the current situation of the country. The Africa Center for Strategic Studies also reported about the election process and result of the DRC, stating:

Moreover, no previous incumbent in the DRC has ever secured more than 48 percent of the vote, even with allegations of widespread fraud. CENI has not provided a breakdown of votes by voting station and, on January 2, postponed the release of the provisional results of the national and provincial legislative elections as well as those of the municipal councilors. Such jurisdictional data would enable corroboration with the presidential results based on the relative performance of competing party candidates.

Congo’s constitutional court on December 9 rejected the application contesting the provisional election results and officially confirmed Félix Tshisekedi as president of the country. 

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