A former opposition member of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s parliament, born to European parents, has been found guilty of fraudulently claiming nationality, one of his lawyers said Saturday.
A court in Kinshasa sentenced Pierre-Jacques Chalupa, 64, who was naturalised Congolese in 1999 and was the only white parliamentarian elected in 2006, to four years in prison for fraud and use of forged documents giving him DRC nationality. He has already served almost nine months and his trial ended in early August, his lawyer Jean-Marie Kabengela told AFP.
He said he had expected an acquittal as there was no reliable basis to the facts.
Chalupa was in born in Uvira, in Sud-Kivu in the east of the country, to a Greek mother and Portuguese father.
Both lived in DR Congo and he spent his boyhood in Kinshasa. After studying architecture in Brussels he went returned and made a career in publicity.
Chalupa did not stand again in 2011 but backed Etienne Tshisekedi, leader of the main opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), who rejected the outcome of the election and declared himself president.
Chaqlupa was jailed after the poll and accused of fraud in the use of documents to acquire DRC nationality, a voter’s card and a passport.
His lawyer said it was odd that a member of the public should be found guilty over documents delivered by the authorities when he was in no position to judge whether they were genuine or not.
“It is a heavy and unjustified sentence which can only be justified by his political position,” Kabengela said.
“It is a settling of political scores, we plan to appeal to the supreme court.”