Mali police detain mayor in graft scandal

Wednesday March 18 2020

Malian police have detained the mayor of capital city Bamako on suspicion of embezzlement. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP



Malian police have detained the mayor of capital city Bamako, a high-profile political figure, on suspicion of embezzlement, his lawyer told AFP.

Police on Tuesday arrested Mayor Adama Sangare and at least two other individuals involved in a public tender for lighting in Bamako, awarded for festivities in 2010 celebrating Mali's independence from France, attorney Nadia Myriam Biouele said.

Sangare belongs to the Alliance for Democracy in Mali (Adema), a party in President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's ruling coalition. He has been mayor of greater Bamako since 2007.

Public details about the scandal were sketchy, but a legal source said it concerned a contract worth some 500 million CFA francs (Sh87 million), between city hall and two companies.



Sangare's lawyer, Nadia Myriam Biouele, said her client's detention was unjust.

"The presumption of innocence has been ignored," she said. "I support the fight against corruption, but it has to be carried out while respecting the law."

The mayor's detention follows a number of alleged corruption scandals involving prominent Malians.

It comes as Keita is battling public outrage over his perceived inability to combat worsening jihadist violence in the country.

Twin attacks that killed at least 40 Malian soldiers in October have provoked rare anti-government protests.