Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Niger court drops corruption charges against former president

Niger's appeals court has dropped corruption charges against former president Mamadou Tandja, imprisoned in February 2010 after being ousted in a coup. Speaking on Tandja's behalf one of his lawyers, Souley Oumarou, said: “All proceedings against Mamadou Tandja have been cancelled. He has been wholly exempted from the accusations against him."

Another one of Tandja's lawyers added that the appeals court in Niamey had ruled the examining magistrate was not capable of hearing cases involving a former president. Tandja was accused of embezzling state funds worth $1 million, and was linked to a corrupt fertiliser deal worth between $9 - $10million.

In December 2010, the State Court of Niger lifted the former president's immunity clearing the way for prosecution. He was charged and transferred in January to the Kollo prison just outside Niamey. On Tuesday 2nd May, the court of appeals ruled that Tandja should be released.

Sources: BBC News, AFP, Ghana News Agency, Reuters

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