DRC football chief provisionally released in embezzlement probe

2018-04-19 19:19


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The head of the Democratic Republic of Congo's football association, who also serves on world governing body FIFA, was provisionally released on Wednesday, after being held for 21 hours as part of an embezzlement probe, an investigating magistrate told AFP.

FECOFA president Constant Omari, also vice-president of the African Football Confederation and a member of FIFA's executive committee, "has been provisionally released," the magistrate said.

But three others who had been taken into custody with him on Tuesday evening – sports ministry secretary general Barthelemy Okito and two FECOFA vice presidents, Roger Bondembe and Theobad Binamungu – would remain in custody "until the investigation has been closed," the magistrate added.

The four had been questioned over the use of public funds in the organisation of matches in African competitions involving national sides as well as clubs.

Alain Makengo, a lawyer for the four men, told AFP they are suspected of embezzling $1.0m earmarked for four matches.

The national football league (Linafoot) announced on Wednesday that it had suspended "all its activities until further notice".

The championship freeze was in "solidarity" with Omari and his two vice presidents, "humiliated and unjustly deprived of their freedom", according to a statement signed by Linafoot chief Bosco Mwehu and his secretary Emmanuel Kande.

The local Kinshasa League has also suspended its activities in the capital, "in support and solidarity" with those in custody.

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