The 2nd Vice President of CAF Constant Omari has been arrested and placed in police custody in the DR Congo over $1m football corruption allegation, in what his supporters say is a politically motivated action.
Constant Omari, Roger Bondembe Bokanianga, Theobald Binamungu Rubambura, respectively President and Vice-Presidents of FECOFA, and Barthélemy Okito Oleka, General Secretary for Sports and Leisure, were arrested and placed in custody at the Kinshasa-Matete Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday night.
The action was led by judicial inspectors from the office of Luzolo Bambi, the Special Adviser to the Head of State in the fight against corruption, money laundering and terrorism.
But supporters of Constant Omari who is also on the FIFA Council says the action is politically motivated as he is a close friend to the exiled opposition figure Moise Katumbi.
The four officials held in pre-trial detention at the Kinshasa-Matete Public Prosecutor’s Office are accused of a series of alleged misappropriations of public funds for the national football team
Indeed, it was since early March that the files of these alleged perpetrators of these offenses were made available to the Attorney General at Matete Court of Appeal.
A ban on leaving the country was imposed on FECOFA President Constant Omari, Sports Secretary Barthélémy Okito, the Public Accountant assigned to the Ministry of Sports and the Deputy Credit Manager assigned to the Ministry of Sports.
One after the other, they were summoned by Luzolo Bambi Lessa to explain the management of funds allocated to the operation of the national football team, the Leopards.
The last defeat of the Leopards was on Tuesday, March 27, against Taifas Stars of Tanzania in a friendly which caused an uproar of outrage from fans of football.
To defend itself, the Congolese Football Association – FECOFA – accused the Minister of Sports of being behind this collapse for not having released the amount required to prepare this friendly meeting.
Minister Papy Niango on the other hand said the federation inflated the budget to nearly one millions dollars for two friendlies.
Four players of the national team pulled out of the friendlies citing the poor conditions for the match after the minister had withheld the budget.
Omari is a known figure in football for his closeness to exiled political figure and many are linking his arrest to the bid by reigning President Joseph Kabila to silent all those connected to opposition figures.
Kabila term has expired but he is still bidding to continue which has thrown DR Congo into turmoil.