A top DR Congo court on Saturday sentenced Vital Kamerhe, chief of staff to President Felix Tshisekedi and a key powerbroker, to 20 years hard labour for corruption in an unprecedented case testing the government's anti-graft campaign.
Kamerhe, 61, was found guilty of "diverting public funds worth 48.8 million dollars" along with his co-accused, Lebanese businessman Jammal Samih, 79, the Kinshasa court said.
The ruling was handed down in the fast-moving trial after the Constitutional Court on Friday asked the lower court to hand over the judicial dossier under an "exception of unconstitutionality".
The televised trial, which has been held in the courtyard of the capital's main jail, takes place during a broader campaign for the "renewal" of the justice system to help root out entrenched corruption.
Kamerhe is accused of having embezzled funds allocated to the construction of 1,500 social housing units under a programme announced by President Felix Tshisekedi after his inauguration in January 2019.