held Italian citizenship from October 2000 until January 2017, the Italian town where he was a resident said on Wednesday, jeopardizing his hopes of contesting a presidential election later this year.
Reuters reports the town of San Vito dei Normanni in southern Italy to have confirmed in an email that Katumbi held Italian citizenship for more than 16 years.
Under the DR Congo constitution, Congolese national’s cannot hold dual citizenship, and are required to apply to the government to renew their citizenship if they take up a foreign nationality.
This provision is however laxly enforced, and many politicians reportedly hold second citizenships.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is scheduled to hold its delayed presidential poll on 23 December, and Katumbi had earlier this year declared his candidacy.
The country’s Attorney General however said last week that he had opened an investigation into allegations about Katumbi’s Italian nationality, first reported by Paris-based magazine Jeune Afrique.
Citizenship status in Italy is commonly registered by local town halls.
Katumbi, the former Governor of Katanga Province has been in a self-imposed exile since May 2016, after he was convicted and later sentenced in absentia to 36 months in prison and fined $6 million in a property appropriation case which he described as political distractions.
He vowed to return to the DR Congo by June. He has yet to respond to this latest controversy surrounding his nationality.