Guinea’s ruling junta on Thursday ordered prosecutors to take legal action against former president Alpha Conde, whom it overthrew in a 2021 coup, and more than 180 other officials and ex-ministers, notably for alleged corruption.
The military, which seized power on September 5, 2021, has made the fight against corruption — reputed to be endemic in the West African nation — one of its key battles.
But the announcement, made in a letter from the justice minister to public prosecutors, marks a new stage in the fight, targeting Conde by name — as well as many of his senior officials and former ministers.
They include ex-prime minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana and the former ministers of defence, economy and trade as well as a number of presidential advisers from the Conde regime.
The letter orders prosecutors to pursue the people listed for alleged acts of “corruption, illicit enrichment, money laundering, forgery and use of forgeries in public writing, embezzlement of public funds and complicity”.
The list includes 188 names in total, though some are mentioned more than once. Their bank accounts have been frozen, the letter said.
“The Guinean government, in its policy of raising the moral standards of public life, has set itself the objective of fighting against economic and financial infractions,” Justice Minister Alphonse Charles Wright said in the letter.
“It is imperative to open judicial investigations to clarify the origin of the funds in these various accounts.”
– Campaign against graft –
This is not the first time that proceedings have been brought against the 84-year-old former president.
He was indicted in May for alleged acts including murder, torture, kidnapping and rape, in a country where the repression of political demonstrations is often brutal.
Several former officials have been detained as part of the junta’s anti-corruption campaign, including some cited in the letter.
The poor but mineral-rich West African state has been under a military government since the coup that ousted Conde after more than 10 years in power.
Military leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya has since appointed himself president and promised to restore civilian rule within two years from January 2023.
He has previously said there would be no “witch-hunts” under his rule but that justice would serve as a “compass”.
Meanwhile, a trial is underway of the former dictator Moussa Dadis Camara and a dozen former military and government officials accused over a September 28, 2009 stadium massacre.
On that date, and in the following days, 156 people were killed and at least 109 women were raped, according to an UN-mandated report.