Kinshasa, 8 February 2019 – The outgoing president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) is working overtime to defend lavish lifetime benefits (golden parachute) for members of its soon-to-step-down cabinet.
The sweet deal will ensure that all former prime ministers, beginning with the current one, Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala, will be paid a monthly salary equivalent to 30 percent of the current prime minister’s monthly housing stipend of $5,000 and taxpayer-funded healthcare overseas.
Former ministers will receive monthly salaries equal to 30 percent of the current minister’s $1,000 monthly housing stipend and one international flight per year in business class.
On average, a minister in the government of DR Congo earns $4,000 per month.
The deal was signed into law last November by outgoing Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala, as the country was preparing to elect a new president but the information remained secret until after the election.
Tshibala is due to submit the resignation of his government to the new president Felix Tshisekedi.
Civil society groups, journalists and citizens have criticized the deal, calling it unreasonable and too expensive for a country with high levels of poverty.
Much of the income from the country’s rich and vast reserves of natural resources is lost to corruption and fraud. The country’s anti-corruption czar estimated the annual revenue lost to fraud in the country at $15 billion.
An aide to the outgoing prime minister defended the deal on Monday, stating that the rates are consistent with the benefits granted other top government officials, including the former president and judges.
The newly-elected president, Tshisekedi has pledged to crackdown on corruption and fraud and to devote his time in office working to lift millions of Congolese out of poverty as possible.