On Aug. 29, former Prime Minister of Mali, Boubeye Maiga, was placed under arrest for the purchase of a presidential jet during the rule of deposed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, according to his lawyer, Kassoum Tapo.
Maiga’s alleged corruption is the latest in Mali’s recent wave of political and social challenges.
The actual reason for the arrest is unclear, but it was linked to the country’s purchase of a plane in 2014, during his tenure as Minister of Defense, for 20 billion CFA francs ($40 million), Tapo told Reuters.
“We have not seen the case file and until then we cannot speak further,” said Tapo.
The arrest of Boubeye Maiga, 67, was part of a judicial investigation in a case of “damage to public property,” where the ex-Prime Minister was suspected of fraud, forgery, and favoritism, according to an anonymous member of the Supreme Court.
According to critics, the Keïta administration had overpaid for the jet in a corrupt deal, leading to a political scandal that tarnished Keïta’s presidency and frightened lenders. The situation went viral, prompting the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to freeze financing to Mali.
The reasons for Maiga’s arrest and the evidence against him are yet to be revealed.
Maiga was part of the Ministry of Defense from 2013 to 2014 but was forced to leave after the army was defeated in Kidal (northeast of Mali) during the Tuareg rebellion in 2014. In 2017, he became the Prime Minister of Mali.
However, he was forced to resign from his post in April 2019 after the brutal massacre of about 160 Fulani civilians in Ogossagou, followed by protestors rising up to oppose state leaders.
After President Keïta of Mali was ousted by a military coup on Aug. 18, 2020, Colonel Assimi Goïta took over as interim president until presidential and legislative elections planned for February 2022.
Promises of a transition of power by the military are still doubtful as other tumultuous events continue to shake up the country.
Turmoil in Mali
Mali has been devastated by a series of violent events, including the spread of terrorism and social crises.
Insurrections in the north have spread to the center and south of the country, resulting in communal conflicts in more weakly defended areas.
On Aug. 9, following the arrest of militant leaders, armed gunmen besieged several villages in northern Mali, killing at least 51 people.
“Most of the victims were in front of their houses; others were going to the mosque,” local official Oumar Cisse told The Associated Press.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, although they did take place along the borders of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, where terrorist organizations ISIL (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda are known to operate.
According to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the second quarter of the year saw an increase in cases of violations and abuses of international human rights laws. At least 527 civilians were killed, injured, kidnapped, or disappeared.