Côte d’Ivoire: Ouattara continues to keep his hands clean

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Thursday, 18 November 2021 17:22

Côte d’Ivoire’s President Alassane Ouattara, 9 March 2020. Issam Zejly for JA

After several calm months, the process of suspending the general managers of public enterprises, which began in August, has resumed. No one is being spared.

Before he left for France on 10 November, Côte d’Ivoire’s President Alassane Ouattara gave firm instructions that the heads of public companies that had been singled out for mismanaging preliminary audit reports be suspended until the control mechanisms have been upgraded. No one has been spared, including general managers close to the presidential entourage who thought they could benefit from temporary protection.

Double pressure

Thus, Lanciné Diaby, director-general of the Fonds d’Entretien Routier (FER) – who is also the deputy mayor of Samatiguila in the Denguele district, the native region of the head of state’s mother, Nabintou Cissé – was relieved of his duties on 11 November. Euloge Soro-Kipeya, the head of the strategic Agence Nationale du Service Universel des Télécommunications (ANSUT), was suspended the very next day. He comes from the Tchologo region, which is governed by Téné Birahima Ouattara, the president’s younger brother and minister of defence.

In recent months, Ouattara has also come under pressure from both France and the US, which have committed significant funding to many projects run by state-owned enterprises. Côte d’Ivoire’s partners have recommended that it fight against bad governance and push for greater transparency.

Advisers to the presidency and prime minister are questioning the operations of the Direction Générale du Portefeuille de l’État (DGPE), which is under the ministry of budget’s supervision. This body, headed by Bamba Seydou, is supposed to monitor the state’s assets and their management by checking the auditors’ reports. However, most of the companies singled out in the preliminary audit reports had in fact been awarded prizes by the DGPE for good governance.

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