CONAKRY, (Reuters) – Guinea’s military junta has demanded that four former mines ministers repay more than $5 million it says they embezzled from the state, according to a senior official.
The televised accusations came less than a month after security forces detained the former president’s son, who later publicly confessed to involvement in drug smuggling.
At the time, human rights campaigners expressed concern at the methods employed by the West African state’s rulers, who took power in December after the death of long-serving President Lansana Conte. The junta’s audit committee said in a interrogation of the former mines ministers broadcast on state television on Saturday night that Ahmed Tidiane Souare, Ousmane Sylla, Ahmed Kante and Louceny Nabe owe around $5.3 million in total.
It claimed almost half of this amount from Souare, who served as mines minister between 2005 and 2006 but was Prime Minister when Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara’s group seized power.
“These funds were intended for the promotion and development of mining, and they were totally misappropriated,” said Mouctar Balde, vice-president of the committee. “They (the ministers) have given us explanations but mostly, they have not convinced us,” he said.
The ex-ministers made no comment in the broadcast, but Souare, speaking on state radio on Sunday, said the money, supposedly earmarked for developing the sector was used to pay for the running of the mines ministry when central funding was insufficient.
“The inspectors are right, according to the documents, the mining fund was misappropriated … but in reality, there was no mining fund,” he said.