Niger’s Minister of Communication jailed for alleged embezzlement

Niger’s Minister of Communication, Mahamadou Zada, was jailed on Tuesday for his alleged involvement in a case of embezzlement of three billion CFA francs when he was running a public company between 2013 and 2021, a judicial source said on Wednesday.
Mahamadou Zada, appointed minister in April 2021 by President Mohamed Bazoum, was “interviewed by a judge of the economic and financial division of Niamey” who ordered “his incarceration in Kollo”, a city located about fifty kilometers south of the capital, according to this source.
The embezzlement of public funds would have been committed when Mr. Zada was at the head of the Société de patrimoine des mines du Niger (Sopamin) between 2013 and 2021, it added. This company manages the Nigerien state’s holdings in mining companies operating in the country, including uranium.
The scandal erupted when the management of Taanadi, a local micro-finance institution, wrote to Sopamin a year ago to say it had not found any trace in its books of a three billion CFA franc deposit announced by Sopamin, according to the Nigerien press.
The state-owned company had already been implicated in a scandal related to international uranium trading organized by the French group Areva (now Orano) involving the sale in the fall of 2011 of a large quantity of uranium for $320 million.
President Bazoum, who has made the fight against corruption one of his top priorities, recently said that “some 30 senior state officials guilty of embezzlement or misappropriation are currently in prison and will remain there for a long time.
In 2020, a case of over-invoicing of purchases and non-deliveries of military equipment, amounting to 39.4 billion CFA francs (59.4 million euros), had already caused a great stir in Niger.

About Geraldine Boechat 2137 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia