David Nyekorach Matsanga is not new to controversy and mention of his name reverberates like an echo in several African cities, carrying with it imaginations of the glitterati.
Matsanga, who led Joseph Kony’s delegation to the peace talks with Uganda between 2006 and 2008, is known as a Mr-fix-it, and has had close connections to among others Zimbabwe President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and Sudan president Omar Bashir, but is now linked to accusations of forgery, bribery and money laundering, in relation to the accusations he made against International Criminal Court (ICC) President, Ms. Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi.
According to the ICC, ‘Matsanga forged invoices and bank statements, and named bank account holders who either do not exist or do not come from the country he cited’.
He claimed that the ICC president discreetly received more than US$17 million from Sudanese organisations to bribe witnesses for the court to indict Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir. Mr Matsanga has been a vocal anti-ICC activist and has accused the court of using its processes to punish African leaders, including Mr Bashir.
The ICC issued its first warrant of arrest against President Bashir on March 4, 2009, and the second one on July 12, 2010, but he has not been arrested yet by any signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC.
In a statement, ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah said the allegations had been taken through the Independent Oversight Mechanism (IOM) by the institution and found to be false.
The IOM is an independent body established by the Assembly of States Parties as an inspection, evaluation and investigation mechanism for the ICC.
“These allegations concerning the supposed involvement of the president with payments to Sudanese rebel groups are based on forged evidence and are, therefore, demonstrably untrue,” Mr Abdallah said in a statement.
Ms Gurmendi, an Argentinian who rose to the helm of the ICC in March 2015, was also accused of having money in several bank accounts, which the IOM said was not evidence of misconduct.
Who is Matsanga
In his early 60s, Matsanga first came to prominence after the fall of former Ugandan president Apollo Milton Obote of the Uganda Peoples Congress, a regime he served as a security operative working with the National Security Agency (NASA). He later fled into exile in the United Kingdom, where he reportedly embarked on academic pursuit, attaining a Doctorate. At the time he also tried his hand in politics, opposing the National Resistance Movement (NRM/A) government. Between 2006 and 2008, Mr Matsanga was part of warlord Joseph Kony’s delegation to the Uganda peace talks that were chaired by embattled former South Sudan Vice President Dr Riek Machar.
Since then he has been an on-and-off confidant to several embattled African leaders including Mugabe (Zimbabwe), Bashir (Sudan) and most recently Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.