Targets Officials for Actively Undermining Democratic Processes
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned two Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) government officials pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13413, as amended by E.O. 13671, as the Government of the DRC continues to suppress political opposition and delay political progress in the country, often through violent means. Specifically, OFAC designated Evariste Boshab and Kalev Mutondo for engaging in actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the DRC. As a result of today’s actions, all of the designated individuals’ assets within U.S. jurisdiction are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
“The Congolese government continues to undermine democratic processes in the DRC and repress the political rights and freedoms of the Congolese people, putting the long-term stability and prosperity of the country at risk,” said Adam Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. “Today’s designation is intended to alter the behavior of the targeted individuals with the aim of fostering a better and more stable future for the DRC and the Congolese people.”
The United Nations Joint Human Rights Office has reported that since the beginning of 2015, DRC state agents have increasingly violated human rights, political rights and public freedoms of Congolese people, including the freedoms of expression speech and peaceful assembly. In late June 2016, the United Nations Security Council expressed concern over the arrest of political opposition members in the DRC and urged the president to hold elections by the end of the year, as required by the constitution.
The Government has conducted extra-constitutional arrests and detentions, used torture as a tool of political oppression, has reportedly committed closed media outlets, and prevented the holding of peaceful protests. In several provinces, defense and security forces have violently repressed peaceful demonstrations organized to oppose a new draft electoral law that many fear would allow President Kabila to run for a third term, an action that is currently prohibited under the constitution. The Government of the DRC has also barred human rights-focused researchers from a number of non-governmental organizations, including the Congo Research Group, Global Witness, and Human Rights Watch.
Evariste Boshab, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and Security
Evariste Boshab (Boshab) is a key player in leading DRC President Kabila’s strategy to remain in power after December 19, 2016, when President Kabila’s constitutional term officially ends. In January 2015, Boshab introduced a bill before the DRC National Assembly to amend the electoral law in a manner that would delay elections and prolong President Kabila’s term beyond its constitutional limit. Boshab has also offered to pay National Assembly members for their votes. In December 2015, Boshab overstepped his authority by appointing commissioners for newly-created provinces in the DRC without holding elections. In addition, Boshab has told officials that they should leave their posts if they supported the opposition and he has supported the neutralization of opposition demonstrations.
Kalev Mutondo, General Administrator of the National Intelligence Agency
Kalev Mutondo (Kalev) has ordered officials to ensure that the DRC’s electoral process favored President Kabila’s Presidential Majority or “MP” political coalition. He has ordered surveillance of the opposition and supported the neutralization of opposition demonstrations and the extrajudicial arrest and detainment of opposition members, many of whom were reportedly tortured. Kalev has been accused of pressuring DRC authorities to act outside the scope of the law to thwart the political opposition. Kalev directed support for President Kabila’s “MP” political coalition using violent intimidation and government resources. Additionally, Kalev may be linked to the illegal export of minerals from the DRC.
For identifying information on the individuals designated today, click here.