Conakry, Guinea (Accredited Times) – Alpha Conde is now officially Guinea’s version of Donald Trump: corrupt, pathetic, and bearing a striking resemblance to a stale Cheeto. Guineans want change. It’s now looking increasingly likely that Guineans will finally push Conde out the door in the 2020 Guinean Presidential election.
Since becoming President in 2010, Conde has presided over perhaps the most corrupt government in the world — a shocking fact given the remarkable diversity of the beautiful West African nation.
Most notably, Conde was caught red-handed engaged in a massive corruption scheme involving Rio Tinto, a multinational mining giant. Documentation and audio recordings obtained by France 24 show that Rio Tinto paid millions of dollars in bribes to Conde. Rio Tinto made the payments by creating a sham agreement with Conde’s friend and close advisor, French banker François de Combret. Overall, Rio Tinto paid $10.5 million in sham “commissions” via the agreement — money that wound up in Conde’s own pockets. In audio recordings obtained by France 24, de Combret states (in French): “Rio Tinto is a huge company … But the president told them, ‘Listen, if there’s no downpayment, I’ll cancel the concession.’ And he would have done it.” In another recording, de Combret describes his role as an “intermediary” for his “childhood friend,” Conde, making clear that de Combret passed the sham “commission” payments as bribes to Conde.
In addition to the documentary support and audio recordings, Guinea’s former Minister of Mines, Mahmoud Thiam, has further admitted that Rio Tinto offered bribes in connection with the Guinea project, stating that a Rio Tinto executive, Steven Din, even offered to bribe him in early 2010 in order to win back control over half of the Simadou mining project. On August 28, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York sentenced Thiam to seven years in prison in connection with accepting $8.5 million in bribes from another company.
The Rio Tinto incident is but the tip of the iceberg involving Conde’s corrupt administration. Case after case reveals that Conde and his cronies are kleptocrats of the worst sort. Among other issues:
- On September 29, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) found that Och-Ziff Capital Management Group in 2011 had paid “more than $1 million to a consultant who then used the funds to pay bribes to government officials in Guinea.” In addition, Och-Ziff structured another transaction “to provide $50 million cash to its . . . business partner to further his and potentially Och-Ziff’s interests in The Republic of Guinea (‘Guinea’), a country in which this business partner had a high-placed agent in the entourage of a senior government official.”
- On June 14, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York sentenced Samuel Mebiame, a Gabonese national, to two years in prison in connection with bribing Guinean officials in Conde’s administration to obtain mining concessions.
- On May 11, 2016, the non-governmental organization (NGO) Global Witness published a report entitled “The Deceivers” on corruption involving Conde and his cronies. According to Global Witness, another mining company, Sable Mining, allegedly forged a close relationship with Conde’s son and allegedly helped with campaign logistics for the 2010 Presidential election. Two years later, Sable allegedly received highly prized mining rights to the Mount Nimba iron-ore project, along with authorization to export iron through Liberia using an existing railway line. According to Global Witness, similar authorizations had previously been denied to other mining companies. As reported by Reuters, Global Witness claimed that Sable paid bribes through an account of Conde’s son to help secure the Mount Nimba iron mining rights.
- In January 2017, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission arrested Datuk Hamdan Mohd Hassan, the Deputy Managing Director of the Malaysian technology giant IRIS Corporation Berhad, in connection with alleged corrupt payments to Guinean officials relating to an e-passport project in Guinea.
Not only has Conde actively participated in corrupt conduct, but he has also bullied whistle-blowers who dare to fight back. After Global Witness published its exposé on Conde’s corruption, Conde threatened to take legal action against Global Witness in an effort to silence the organization.
Under Conde, Guinea’s reputation for the rule of law has plummeted. According to Transparency International’s most recent Corruption Perceptions Index — the industry gold standard for corruption scoring — Guinea ranks as “highly corrupt.” Under Conde’s “leadership,” Guinea is now regarded as one of the 35 most corrupt countries in the world — even worse than war-torn Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Guinea’s neighbors rate vastly better in terms of transparency. Neighboring Liberia is ranked 52 places higher than Guinea in terms of transparency; Ghana is ranked 72 places higher; Burkina Faso is ranked 70 places higher; Mali is ranked 26 places higher; Côte d´Ivoire is ranked 34 places higher; Sierra Leone is ranked 19 places higher; and Senegal is ranked a whopping 78 places higher.
Guinea is now treated as radioactive from an international business perspective. International treaties, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Anti-Bribery Convention, require member states to prosecute individuals or companies that participate in corruption of foreign officials. For example, United States companies face criminal prosecution in the United States under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act if they make improper payments to Guinean officials, like Conde. British companies likewise face prosecution under the U.K. Bribery Act for similar issues. Given Guinea’s high-corruption environment under Conde, businesses simply do not want to operate in Guinea because they do not believe that they can do so while still complying with their obligations under these laws. As long as Conde remains in charge, that will not change.
Fortunately, Guineans have a choice. His name is Abu Berete. Abu believes in fighting corruption and restoring jobs back to Guinea. He also believes in peace and prosperity and follows in the footsteps of other peacemakers, like Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Hussein Obama. The Accredited Times has fully endorsed Abu. We believe that Abu can bring hope, change, and jobs back to Guinea.
Dump Conde. Vote Abu.