Home Headline Former Congo VP Bemba faces corruption charges at the Hague

Former Congo VP Bemba faces corruption charges at the Hague

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Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court(ICC) on Tuesday accused former Congo vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba, his former lawyer and three other allies of corrupting witnesses in an attempt to secure his acquittal.
Bemba, already on trial at court in The Hague for crimes against humanity, and his ex-trial lawyer Aime Kilolo Musamba, were charged with coaching witnesses and paying them to testify in his favour between 2011 and 2013.
“Mr Bemba directed a plan to see his acquittal through corrupted means,” prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the court, adding that witness testimony, phone and money transfer records and logs from the court’s jail would prove her case.
“This is a case about shielding the integrity of the court’s proceedings,” Bensouda said.
Bemba and the other accused denied the charges, saying that the payments were intended to cover witnesses’ expenses and not to influence their testimony.
Bemba has been on trial in The Hague since 2008, following an accusation of orchestrating atrocities against civilians during a 2002 intervention by his Movement for the Liberation of Congo militia in the neighbouring Central African Republic.
The five defendants could face sentences of up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine if convicted.
Some of the court’s highest-profile cases have collapsed due to witness tampering.
Last year, prosecutors abandoned their case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, accused of fomenting pre-election violence, because of what they said was large-scale intimidation and bribing of witnesses
(6:09:30 PM) headline/news Last batch of Nigeria’s Ebola rescue team return home
The Federal Ministry of Health on Tuesday received the last batch of Nigeria’s Ebola rescue teams from Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Linus Awute, while receiving the delegation in Abuja, welcomed the members of the teams and said the country was happy that all who went for the mission came back safe and sound.
Awute, was represented by Dr Sani Gwarzo, Director, Port Health Services, on behalf of the ministry and Nigeria Centre for Disease control.
He, however, said that members of the teams would be under health observation for few days.
He said that out of 204 persons who went on the mission to Sierra-Leone and Liberia, 188 returned in May, seven came back on Monday, and five returned on Tuesday.
Awute said two people each from the teams would remain in Sierra Leone and Liberia to round off the assignment.
“The 12 that have arrived are all healthy but we must, under scientific protocol, give them a thorough screening, both for other health conditions and Ebola.
“The contributions of Nigeria cannot be quantified in these countries; it has been very substantial in many forms.
“At the time Nigerians contributed to the work force, many countries were scared that they will get exposed but Nigeria took the lead which opened the minds of others to contribute,” he said.
Mr Womi Eteng, the Operation Coordinator in Sierra Leone, said when the team went there, the country was recording an average of 300 cases of Ebola daily.
He said at their departure, the cases had reduced to less than 10, adding that it was important for a health worker to support other countries to save lives.
The “Nigerian Government gave their support and made sure we had all that was needed, so, fear was the last thing on my mind,” Eteng said.
Ahmed Gawar, one of the public health officers in Liberia, said that it was not easy in the beginning but with the zeal to save lives, they worked with everything and anything to achieve success.
“Nigeria is a great nation and it shows its strength whenever the need arises,” Gawar said.
He said that Federal Government gave them all the support they needed to succeed in the mission.
“They supported us with all their strength by responding to calls and requests without any delay,” he said.