The Ivory Coast state prosecutor on Friday said a magistrate, elected officials and former company directors were among high-placed figures being investigated over the misappropriation of tens of billions of CFA francs (tens of millions of dollars/euros).
“It’s a matter of billions.. of tens of billions (of CFA frances),” prosecutor Richard Adou told a press conference, adding that the suspects included “a magistrate, financial directors, elected officials, a civil administrator, former chief executives of private and public companies and midwives”.
He refused to give names of the individuals or companies but said the case involves “corruption, abuse of position, embezzlement of public and private money, illicit enrichment and money laundering”.
Last month, Noel Akossi Bendjo mayor of Plateau, Abidjan’s administrative and business district, was sacked by the government and accused of embezzling funds worth several million euros.
On Friday, the prosecutor refused to say whether Bendjo was among those targetted in the latest action.
Bendjo has claimed to be the victim of a political vendetta and has quit the ruling coalition.
President Alassane Ouattara, a former top official at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), has made the fight against corruption one of his priorities.
A European Union report in July spoke of an Ivorian ruling class whose enrichment has sometimes been “spectacular” in recent years.