GIN) - The Democratic Republic of Congo government is considering its options following a Swiss court ruling which released millions of dollars stashed in various Swiss bank accounts of the former President Mobutu Sese Seko to his family.
In its ruling two weeks ago, the court said that too much time had passed since the charges were first filed.
''With due respect to a court decision,'' said Information Minister Lambert Mende, "the government is not happy with this decision because this money should have been sent to the Congolese people."
He said President Joseph Kabila was equally displeased with the court's ruling.
Human rights organizations sharply condemned the Swiss court's ruling. Transparency International called President Sese Seko the third most corrupt African leader who ruled from 1965 to 1997, adding that these millions were ill-gotten and needed by suffering Congolese. His regime led to the creation of the word ''kleptocracy.''
Manketa Rostin of the Congolese rights group Voice of the Voiceless said that the disputed millions should have been invested in DR Congo.
''We were expecting the money to be used for infrastructure here in Kinshasa because we have roads in a very bad state,'' he said. The money, he added, could have also been used to help victims of rape and other violence.
During the Cold War, Mobutu, a staunch anti-communist, was reportedly receiving half of the all U.S. aid to sub-Saharan Africa. Almost half of the $12 billion in aid money received from the International Monetary Fund also reportedly wound up in Mobotu's accounts.
After 32 years of authoritarian rule, he was ousted from power in 1997, to die later that year in exile in Morocco. The new rulers reverted the country's name back to Congo, from Zaire, a title chosen by Mobutu.