Friday, October 30, 2020

Former Ivory Coast PM Guillaume Soro sentenced to 20 years for corruption


A presidential candidate in Ivory Coast’s election has been convicted in absentia of embezzlement and money laundering.

Guillaume Soro, who has been a rebel leader and prime minister, was accused of buying a house with public money.

Soro denied the allegations and his lawyers boycotted the trial, denouncing it as a way to exclude him from October’s election, reports Reuters.

Soro was sentenced to 20 years in jail and fined $7.6m (£6.1m).

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His property in the commercial capital, Abidjan, was confiscated and he was also barred from civic duties for five years.

The verdict was announced after a trial that lasted only a few hours, adds Reuters. Soro was not present as he lives in exile in France.

The former rebel leader has also been accused of plotting a coup against President Alassane Ouattara, who is due to leave office later this year.

Soro was once an ally of Mr Ouattara’s. He commanded a rebel force which backed the current president in his fight against President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to accept he had lost the 2010 elections.

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Soro still retains the loyalty of former rebel commanders who now hold senior positions within the military, reports BBC Africa editor Mary Harper.

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