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Congo Opposition calls for investigation into expensive passports

By Reuters | Published Wed, April 19th 2017 at 00:00, Updated April 18th 2017 at 22:53 GMT +3

Top opposition leaders in Democratic Republic of Congo has called on the new prime minister to investigate revelations by Reuters last week that most of the money paid by Congolese citizens for new passports goes overseas.

Documents reviewed by Reuters of a 2015 deal between the government and a Belgian company, Semlex to produce biometric passports show that most of the $185 (Sh19,138) price for a new passport goes to Semlex and a small company called LRPS in the United Arab Emirates.

According to a person with direct knowledge of the passport deal, the UAE-registered company - which receives $60 (Sh6,207) for every passport issued - is owned by Makie Makolo Wangoi, believed to be a close relative of Congo President Joseph Kabila. The Congolese presidency, Wangoi and Semlex did not respond to requests for comment for last week's story.

Speaking to reporters in the capital, Kinshasa, Felix Tshisekedi said the main opposition bloc that he leads would only speak to incoming Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala once he takes action over the passport affair. [Reuters] 

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