Guinea probes ex-PM over embezzling $40 million in Covid aid

Guinea's former prime minister and economist Ibrahima Kassory Fofana and three other ex-ministers have been detained since April 6 on embezzlement charges.

Photo credit: AFP

Guinea is investigating detained former premier Ibrahima Kassory Fofana over allegedly embezzling more than $40 million in financial aid intended to battle the coronavirus pandemic, the prosecutor general said Friday.

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.

The former premier has been detained since April over fraud, but no details had been released about the exact accusations against him.

Alphonse Charles Wright, the prosecutor general named by the ruling junta, said Fofana stood accused of "embezzling several billion Guinean francs... notably the sum of $46.2 million" earmarked for dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of that amount, around $9 million had been "entirely withdrawn on Mr Ibrahima Kassory Fofana's orders", he added.

"We have no justification for the use of this sum."

A probe had also noted "suspicious movements in his bank accounts", he added.

Fofana, former defence minister Mohamed Diane, ex-environment minister Oye Guilavogui, and former oil and gas minister Zakaria Coulibaly were detained on April 6 on embezzlement charges.

Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, a former special forces commander, seized power last year, accusing Conde of corruption and authoritarianism.

The ruling junta has promised to combat endemic graft in the impoverished West African state but has also insisted it would not launch a witch hunt.