Mali’s Ex-PM, Maiga, Arrested for Fraud in Presidential Jet Purchase Deal

Mali’s Ex-Prime Minister, Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga, who was from 2017 to 2019 the Prime President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, overthrown a year ago by a coup d’état, was jailed on Thursday in a case of alleged fraud. His lawyer, Kassoum Tapo announced this on Thursday,

Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga, 67, is a political heavyweight in Mali and has also served as foreign minister, defense minister and intelligence chief. He has never officially confirmed or denied his intentions to run for president.

Appointed Prime Minister in 2017, he had been forced to resign in April 2019 after the massacre the previous month of some 160 Fulani civilians in Ogossagou (center) and a series of protests against the management of the state.

A member of the Supreme Court, disclosed that “Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga was placed under arrest by Mali’s Supreme Court on Thursday in a case of damage to public property,” He is suspected of fraud, forgery, use of forgery, and favoritism

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A prison official also confirmed that the former head of government arrived in mid-afternoon at the Bamako prison.

He is suspected mainly in connection with the purchase in 2014, when he was Minister of Defense, of a presidential plane for 20 billion CFA francs (about 30.5 million euros), an acquisition pinned by the Auditor General’s Office (OAG), an independent Malian authority that has denounced practices of overbilling, embezzlement of public funds, fraud, influence peddling and favoritism.

The former Minister of Economy and Finance, Bouaré Fily Sissoko, was charged and placed under arrest on Thursday on the same grounds, a magistrate said. She was transferred to the women’s prison in Bollé, Bamako.

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The Supreme Court prosecutor, Mamadou Timbo, had announced on Tuesday on public television that this case was not closed, contrary to what had publicly stated on August 19 Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga, who had ensured that he had been cleared by the dismissal in 2018 of the case.

“At one point, under the former regime, it had been instructed to the prosecutor of the Republic of the economic and financial pole of then to close the case without continuation (…). Subsequently, another Minister of Justice considered that this case should not be dismissed. Additional investigations were conducted (…). The judicial work will be done,” the prosecutor explained at the time.

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“There is nothing more dangerous for the health of a Republic than impunity,” he said.

“This affair of the presidential plane can splash many people, it is perhaps the beginning of a great washing,” commented a former senior Malian official.


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