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Corruption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, once legendary, has diminished in recent years, but continues to exceed corruption in most states. The BBC's DRC country profile calls its recent history "one of civil war and corruption."PresidentJoseph Kabila established the Commission of Repression of Economic Crimes upon his ascension to power in 2001.
Mobutu Sese Seko ruled Zaire from 1965 to 1997, looting his country's wealth for personal use to such a degree that critics coined the term "kleptocracy". A relative once explained how the government illicitly collected revenue: "Mobutu would ask one of us to go to the bank and take out a million. We'd go to an intermediary and tell him to get five million. He would go to the bank with Mobutu's authority, and take out ten. Mobutu got one, and we took the other nine." Mobutu institutionalized corruption to prevent political rivals from challenging his control, leading to an economic collapse in 1996. Mobutu allegedly stole up to US$4 billion while in office.