In August 2019, CDC Group commissioned IBIS Consulting and Salama Fikira to undertake an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Joel Imbangola Lokwa in July 2019, in Bempumba, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mr Ebuka Boketsu, a security guard employed by Feronia-PHC, was subsequently arrested by the police in connection with Mr Lokwa’s death.
The independent investigation was commissioned after allegations emerged that Mr Boketsu’s actions were related to his status as an employee of Feronia.
The scope of the investigation included an examination of a) the incidents leading up to the death of Mr Lokwa and b) an examination of Feronia’s management of its security personnel.
The following is a summary of the independent team’s approach:
The investigative team spent three days in Kinshasa conducting interviews with PHC-Feronia management and the police
- The team spent ten days in Boteka conducting interviews and taking statements from relevant stakeholders including the Lokwa family, and from key witnesses including Jeremie Mbangi Nzelueme, the boat owner and an individual who witnessed the homicide. Interviews were also conducted with Feronia’s management team and key personnel at its Boteka site and local police officers involved in the investigation of Mr Lokwa’s death, including the Police Chief of Makoko.
- The team was accompanied by three Judicial Police Officers – a stipulation of operating in DRC. They were witnesses to the investigation and facilitated meetings with local police but did not undertake interviews or take statements from anyone who met the investigative team.
A legal requirement to delay publishing the findings of the IBIS investigation
Since the IBIS investigation was commissioned, Mr Boketsu has been arrested for the alleged murder and is now awaiting trial.
To ensure due process, we must delay publishing the findings of the IBIS investigation until the trial is concluded before doing so.
No evidence of a link between the homicide and Feronia
At this stage we can confirm that the IBIS investigating team did not uncover any evidence that the alleged murder had anything to do with the accused’s status at the time as an employee of Feronia.
The Judicial Police are in possession of all the facts pertaining to the interviews undertaken by IBIS.