On August 15 an invitation to investigate two nationals on the behalf of France was extended to authorities in Mali. One of them was Amadou Cheick — popularly known as Bani Kante — whose advice could provide accessibility to many African leaders to the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio and the other was a Malian businessman.
The request to Mali was that the two were to be investigated for their presumed role in Muhamar Gaddafi’s friendship network which allegedly financed former president Sakorzy’s electoral campaign in 2007.
For several months, the French judiciary services have been investigating the illegal financing of the presidential campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy from Libya.
According to “Nouvel Horizon”, a Bamako-based newspaper, the French investigators think the Libyan funds have been transmitted to Sarkozy through the agency of Mali, under the rule of President Amadou Toumani Toure –also known as ATT- who was overthrown by a military coup in 2012.
But some Malian citizens related to Kante and former President Toure would like these investigations abandoned, pointing out political motivations.
“I think what the French judiciary services want is another thing; it is not a serious request. Bani Kante is like a brother to me and I found he is right to say this is a plot to give a bad reputation to (former) president ATT”, Checkna Sylla, who is acquainted to Bani Kante, told AFKInsider.
According to Malian official sources, the Malian minister of justice, Mohamed Bathily, received the French judiciary request through the country’s diplomatic representation in Paris.
The same source revealed that the Malian authorities accept to cooperate with their colleagues of France; the general prosecutor will appoint soon a magistrate to investigate on the case.
Kante is well known in Mali and closely related to the Malian former president who used to travel with him, according to Sylla.
As President Toure’s special adviser for some investments, he was in charge of managing the presidential aircraft and all the issues related to the international agenda of the presidency.
Analysts said Kante played a key role for the president comfort as he was the Deputy National Secretary of a new party which liberated President Toure from the old political parties.
President Toure didn’t have a political party when he was elected in 2002 with the support of a coalition of political parties, including the most important party that rule ended at the same period.
Meanwhile, leading the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio is supposed to be the most important achievement of the Malian businessman.
According to “Nouvel Horizon” newspaper, Kante helped the Libyan authorities to purchase tens of hotels, fuel stations and 100 thousands hectares of farm lands in the rice growing region of the inland delta of River Niger in Mali.
Similar investments in many other West African countries have been also facilitated by the same representative of the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio. He was deeply closed to Bechir Saleh, a Black Libyan the Paris-based Jeune Afrique magazine describes as Gaddafi’s ambassador for African heads of States.
The portfolio seems having done more than investing in economy. The French judiciary services say they have the testimony of Jacques Dupuydauby, Company CEO, who said he had seen in 2009 Kanté and Saleh together in Tripoli, the Libyan capital.
Dupuydauby told investigators he heard the two men discussing about how Gaddafi financed the presidential campaign of Sarkozy.
On August 20, Kante who was in France, told a radio that he had never been an intermediary between Sarkozy and Gaddafi and had no idea of any Libyan money financing the campaign of the French ancient former president.
Tough Dupuydauby said they know each other, the representative of the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio said he doesn’t know the French CEO. But he will need to prove that Dupuydauby testimony isn’t true.
Sarkozy, Unpopular President in Mali
There is a legal framework to such a mutual assistance and judiciary cooperation between Mali and France since 1962, according to the Malian government. Some international conventions both Mali and France signed also call on to the two countries to cooperate when it comes to combat corruption and bad governance.
As they are announced to be acquainted with Gaddafi’s regime, other businessmen living in Mali may be also investigated by the Malian magistrates.
“Jeune AFrique” magazine said Gerard Achcar who has created a factory in Mali benefited a cancelling of parts of tax payments valuing 4 million Euros when Sarkozy was the French minister of budget. The refund, according to French journalists, has been given to the Malian businessman –Achcar- who is related to french nationals accused of bribery when Sarkozy was a minister of budget.
Malians generally welcome the invitation of French authorities, as Sarkozy is an unpopular personality in the country. Ordinary people say he was behind the Touareg rebellion that opened the door to Islamist movements which invaded the country in 2012.
“I will be happy to see the investigators proving that Gaddafi financed the campaign of Sarkozy. Hopping to hide the proofs he supported the rebels whose representatives are still living in France”, Alassane Maiga, a displaced inhabitant of the war-torn city of Gao, told AFKInsider.