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Former Congo president's ally loses chairmanship of state mining company

12/04/2021 | 06:22am EST

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi on Friday announced a high-level shake-up at state mining company Gecamines, replacing board chairman Albert Yuma, a close ally of Tshisekedi's predecessor.

After coming to power in 2019, Tshisekedi re-appointed Yuma but named his own loyalists to senior positions in a bid to assert more control over Gecamines, which has minority stakes in most of Congo's largest copper and cobalt projects.

Under Yuma's leadership, the company faced repeated allegations from local and international watchdogs that its money was used to fund then President Joseph Kabila's political interests.

Yuma and Kabila have denied that.

Yuma will be replaced by Kaputo Kalubi Alphonse, Tshisekedi's spokesperson Kasongo Mwema said, reading out a presidential order on state television.

The move follows a reshuffle at Gecamines in February that further bolstered Tshisekedi's influence at the expense of Kabila.

Democratic Republic of Congo is Africa's top copper producer and the world's biggest miner of cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries.

(Reporting by Stanis Bujakera; Writing by Alessandra Prentice and Alistair Bell)

© Reuters 2021
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