DRC: The story of a Belgian lawyer’s passport lost in… a closed drawer

DRC: The story of a Belgian lawyer’s passport lost in… a closed drawer

Me Chansay-Wilmotte has been banned from leaving the DRC for more than 500 days.

He hoped to spend the end of year holidays at home in Huy. It missed. Belgian lawyer Philippe Chansay-Wilmotte is still stuck in Kinshasa and deprived of his passport.

The story began when the lawyer, registered with the Brussels bar, was mandated by the highest Congolese authorities to look into a dispute between the Congolese state and the company Dig Oil. The latter is demanding the sum of 650 million dollars from the DRC in a file for the allocation of oil blocks which, according to the complainant, did not succeed due to the fault of the Congolese authorities.

The Congolese state has been condemned on several occasions by international justice in this matter. Each time by default because the lawyers of the Republic did not appear before the judge. Magnanimously, the Dig Oil company proposed a transaction to the Congolese state: exchange this sum for two oil blocks…

A solution which does not satisfy the presidency of the DRC which calls on the Belgian lawyer. Arriving in Kinshasa, the defender quickly raises a hare. “The first contract was honored, the second has no legal existence”, he explains in substance. President Tshisekedi therefore decides not to give in. Anger of the oilman but also of Congolese ministers financially interested in this affair who decided to put pressure on the lawyer and ended up, through the migration services (DGM), preventing him from leaving the territory and confiscating his passport.

Five hundred days later, the lawyer is still in Kinshasa. Good news, the famous passport was found in the drawer of a lawyer from the DGM on December 27… Unfortunately, this lawyer was absent. His superiors are surprised and don’t know where he is and when he will return… The lawyer still doesn’t know when he will return.