Guinea ex-PM held for alleged embezzlement
Former Guinean prime minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana and three ex-ministers in the West African state were detained on Wednesday on embezzlement charges, his lawyer said.
Fofana served as prime minister under ex-president Alpha Conde from May 2018 until September 2021, when the army ousted the elected government in a coup.
Fofana, former defence minister Mohamed Diane, ex-environment minister Oye Guilavogui and former hydrocarbons minister Zakaria Coulibaly “have been charged with embezzling public funds and put in prison,” said attorney Salifou Beavogui.
The four are expected to go on trial on on Monday, he said.
“We believe that they do not deserve to be in custody as, pending evidence to the contrary, they have the right to the presumption of innocence. We are dealing with a hasty and punitive procedure,” he said.
The four were ordered to be held after being cross-examined for three days. The details of their alleged offences have not been made public.
The detentions come amid a crackdown on alleged graft by coup leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.
The authorities last month razed the house of former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, a three-time presidential candidate, saying it was state property that was obtained illicitly.
Diallo is also being investigated for alleged self-enrichment over the sale of assets in 2002 of the country’s bankrupt airline, Air Guinea.
He denies the allegations.
Conde in 2010 became Guinea’s first democratically elected president.
He was deposed by army officers at the age of 83 amid protests over his successful bid for a third term in office — a plan that critics said breached the constitution.
Doumbouya had himself sworn in as president last October.
He has vowed to reform the electoral system in order to hold “free, credible and transparent” elections, but so far resisted to committing to a date.
The junta has set up a special court for dealing with corruption cases.
It has also expelled numerous executives from the state services as part of its anti-graft drive.
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