Fight against corruption: Minister Kassogué unveils the missions of the new Economic Pole

The higher gear in the fight against corruption seems to be engaged with the arrest of several personalities including the former Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maïga, Ms. Sissoko Fily Bouaré former Minister of Finance and the Economy, Mahamadou Camara, former chief of staff in the presidency, all three indicted and placed under arrest warrant by the Supreme Court, in particular in the case of the purchase of the command plane of the former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. In this story, as in others, it could be that new arrests are scheduled.

Indeed, the fight against corruption promised by the Transitional Authorities is experiencing a new turn with the arrest of several people suspected of being soaked in the multiple scandals that have punctuated the two terms of former President IBK.

Indeed during the last 7 years (under the calamitous regime of IBK) there is no lack of scandals. From the purchase of the presidential plane to the acquisition of military equipment for the Malian army through the no less sulphurous business of adulterated fertilizers … This regime of national destruction had subscribed to financial scandals against a background of squandering of state resources. Scandals which have put the Republic at the bottom of a financial abyss unprecedented in the history of our country.

Also, the purchase of 2 Puma helicopters, in 2017, had given rise to a vast scandal, after the President of the Republic IBK confirmed in an interview with Jeune Afrique that the planes bought under his authority are nailed to the ground “fault appropriate maintenance ”. Then, it was the turn of the president of the defense commission of the National Assembly at the time, Karim Keïta, the son of the President of the Republic, to declare during a conference in Paris: “The helicopters that we have bought can no longer fly, it worked at the beginning but, in all likelihood, we have had a maintenance problem since the purchase, I wonder if we were not cheated on the purchase ”…

This statement by the president of the defense committee of the National Assembly had at the time aroused strong suspicions of overbilling and embezzlement relating to financial resources intended to acquire equipment for the army.

Already, with the purchase of these helicopters, a senior officer of the Malian army had declared in Bloomberg news (publication of July 13, 2017): “We have two helicopters nailed to the ground and which are useless”. Before specifying: “The devices are nailed to the ground because the army cannot obtain the spare parts”.

The time of scandals

This umpteenth scandal was added to a long list of shenanigans and overbilling that have marred IBK’s mandate in recent years. Indeed, the deceased regime was distinguished by its propensity to cause scandals …

After the scandal of the purchase of the presidential plane was revealed to the Malian and to the whole world the nature of an over-the-counter market of CFA F 69 billion awarded, in violation of public procurement rules, to a close friend of the presidential family. With the amendment, the market finally covered FCFA 108 billion. The fact that this contract was awarded by mutual agreement constitutes a flagrant trampling of the elementary principles of public procurement. Worse, in the same contract, the Malians will learn that the Minister of Finance at the time had covered this market with a guarantee of 100 billion CFA francs. Personalities, we remember, had taken advantage of these cases to indulge in overbilling which only the banana republics have the secret.
2016, the government handed over to the MOC (Operational Coordination Mechanism) 42 vehicles intended for mixed patrols. The press reported that the said vehicles cost the State 2 billion 300 million FCFA, or more than 50 million each. The following month, Parena publicly criticized this market and called for government intervention to save public money. In vain!

After the affair of the presidential plane and overcharged military equipment, the average Malian was far from imagining that another scandal, also involving billions of FCFA, would break out. This umpteenth scandal concerned some sixty billion CFA francs intended for the purchase of fertilizer for the peasants, in the form of loans to be repaid at the end of the harvests in rural development operations.

It is a tiny GIE (Economic Interest Group) which was responsible for the attribution, through a very dubious notice of appeal, of this big and juicy market to suppliers, sometimes without faith or law. It took a disgruntled competitor to spit in the soup, testing a rival’s fertilizer for compliance at a local lab, for the rose pot to be uncovered and the truth in all its horror to begin. to be displayed in the public square. The President of the Republic promised firmness in this matter during the session of the Higher Council for Agriculture which he chaired on May 16, 2016. Public opinion has long awaited its reaction. In vain.

Fertilizers and social housing too …

Impunity encouraging further attacks on public morals, a new affair known as “1000 tractors” has been revealed to Malian opinion.

Another scandal that splashed the mandate of IBK: the allocation of 1552 social housing in Tabacoro, in which a real open-air scam was orchestrated. In addition to the ministers of the Republic and the executives of the administration, the minister in charge of social housing at the time, the Minister of Housing, had distributed “social” villas with all the effort (2015-2016 ). Thus, under IBK, Mali has entered a new era of social housing.

Thus, from the purchase of aircraft and other military materiel and equipment, to the training of pilots, a vast network of theft of resources officially released for the implementation of the military programming law had passed through it. It is a sulphurous file involving Senior Officers, Generals, Ministers, close collaborators and relatives of the former Head of State which has been denounced. This umpteenth financial and economic scandal in this country had prompted the main opposition coalition at the time to request an audit on the use of funds from the military programming law.

Even at the international level, the use of these funds had raised questions. Thus, in a Report on Integrity in the Security and Defense Sector in Mali, published in October 2019, Transparency International, underlined the need to establish control. “Article 8 of the Public Procurement Code allows certain acquisitions to escape the control of Parliament and external audit mechanisms. Likewise, the control of the eligibility of secret purchases, outside the Budget and the supervision of their execution by an independent external body such as the Office of the Auditor General (BVG) or the Regulatory Authority of Public Procurement and Service Delegations (ARMDS), is essential, ”said the NGO Transparency International.

Also, Mali under IBK was turning to the rhythm of financial scandals which paralyze the functioning of the Administration, suffocate the economy and tarnish the image of the country. In addition to the purchase of a command plane, an armament contract, accusation of connection with a mafia sponsor, sanctions from donors including the IMF, infestation of power by the family, other scandals, including among others the renovation of private residence, overbilling, the Soundjata project case (energy), the reports of the auditor general, Mali airports, the over-the-counter contracts of the Office du Niger

By translating into action its commitments to fight corruption and financial crime, the Transitional Authorities are responding to the wishes of the majority of the People. Because the people are waiting for the return to social justice and the fight against impunity. So, it was high time to start legal proceedings against all natural persons accused of corruption, embezzlement of property or public funds.

Granny Sanogo

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