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Former Health Minister of DR Congo Arrested for 'Embezzling' Ebola Funds, Says Police

Congolese Health Ministry officials carry the first batch of experimental Ebola vaccines in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe

Congolese Health Ministry officials carry the first batch of experimental Ebola vaccines in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe

Oly Ilunga, who resigned as health minister in July after being removed as head of the country's Ebola response team, was detained while hiding in an apartment in the capital Kinshasa ahead of a bid to flee the country.

  • AFP
  • Last Updated: September 14, 2019, 9:33 PM IST
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Kinshasa: Former Democratic Republic of Congo health minister Oly Ilunga has been arrested over allegations he embezzled public funds to tackle the Ebola epidemic, police said on Saturday.

Ilunga, who resigned as health minister in July after being removed as head of the country's Ebola response team, was detained while hiding in an apartment in the capital Kinshasa ahead of a bid to flee the country, officers said.

He is in custody due to "misdemeanours of the mismanagement of funds allocated to the Ebola response," police spokesperson Colonel Pierrot-Rombaut Mwanamputu said.

Ilunga will be referred to prosecutors on Monday, he added.

The arrest comes after Ilunga was questioned in August as part of an inquiry into the management of funds to fight the outbreak, which has claimed more than 2,000 lives since August 2018.

Ilunga, 59, had already been banned from leaving the country. He stepped down after criticising plans by the UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) to introduce a new, unlicensed vaccine to fight the epidemic.

His lawyer in September said that some payments had been made to local chiefs after the killing of a WHO doctor in April.

More than 200,000 people have been vaccinated during DR Congo's tenth and most serious Ebola epidemic. It is the second-worst Ebola outbreak in history after more than 11,000 people were killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia between 2014 and 2016.
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