ICC: Ugandan David Matsanga forged evidence against judge

Ugandan activist David Matsanga

An International Criminal Court inquiry has cleared court President Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi of money laundering allegations levelled against her by Ugandan activist David Matsanga.

In a preliminary report dated August 3, quoted by court organs but not seen by The Standard on Sunday, the court’s Independent Oversight Mechanism (IOM) closed down investigations against Gurmendi barely before they started.

Court spokesman Fadi El Abdalla said the allegations were knocked off at the preliminary stage after they were found to be false.

He said the court would examine the “next steps that may be taken”, even as Matsanga cried foul, saying the speed at which the charges were handled was suspect and unprocedural.

“The IOM determined that the essence of the complaint concerns only the President of the ICC and ultimately concluded that the allegations made against her are wholly false and at least in part based on forgery. The review concludes that there is no sufficient evidence to warrant pursuing the allegations made to full investigation,” Fadi said yesterday.

In his stream of letters to various court entities, Matsanga had linked the court president, also a judge, to companies that transferred considerable sums of money to a list of organisations allegedly associated with lobbying for the Sudan’s ICC situation.

At the time of the alleged impropriety, Gurmendi was a special adviser and director of jurisdiction, complementarity and cooperation division at the Office of Prosecutor (OTP) at the ICC between 2003 and 2006. She later became a judge in 2010.

Matsanga (pictured) claimed the money was used to induce witnesses and corrupt the judicial process. He also claimed that the judge had stashed unexplainable millions of dollars in her bank accounts and could have been involved in money laundering activities.

Yesterday, he told The Standard on Sunday that he had not received any official communication from the court ever since he filed the charges.

“The impression I am getting is that they are trying to kill this matter and hush it. How can the IOM, which reports to the Assembly of State Parties, issue its report to the same people it’s investigating without even involving the ASP?” Matsanga said.

He said investigations into international money laundering cannot take place in a matter of days or months.

Matsanga filed his complaint and accompanying evidence with the court in June.

In his statement, Fadi said the allegations of Gurmendi’s involvement in payments to Sudanese rebel groups was “based on forged evidence and is therefore demonstrably untrue”.

“Indeed the only evidence offered by Mr Nyekorach-Matsanga on this supposed involvement is contained in an alleged invoice, which was confirmed to be forged by the entity that had issued it. The issuing entity confirmed that the client and address details, which now include the ICC President’s name, were altered on the invoice,” the court’s Spokesman said.

In one of the invoices offered by Matsanga as evidence, a company by the name Bartin Holdings domiciled in South Africa transferred 2,694 Euros (about Sh302,000) to the benefit of Consulate General of Madagascar in Romania.