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U.S. sanctions three DR Congo electoral officials for 'obstructing' vote

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on three senior officials from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) election commission, accusing them of obstructing the democratic process during December’s presidential election.

The U.S. Treasury sanctioned Corneille Nangaa, president of the country’s election commission, CENI; Norbert Basengezi, his deputy and Marcellin Mukolo Basengezi, an adviser to Nangaa and son of Norbert Basengezi.

“This action follows persistent corruption by senior officials within the DRC’s National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) and the former Kabila Government to obstruct and delay preparations for credible and inclusive elections,” said Sigal Mandelker, U.S. Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

The announcement comes nearly a month after Washington imposed travel and visa curbs against six DRC officials, including those sanctioned on Thursday.

Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was declared the winner of the Dec. 30 election by the country’s constitutional court, despite widespread concerns by the international community over the outcome of the contentious election.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton, editing by G Crosse)

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