In Burundi, the Ministry of Public Security announced on Saturday, June 23, the arrest of four French nationals and a senior Burundian.
On Friday in Bujumbura, the capital, in circumstances still unclear, they are accused of fraud.
The four French and the Burundian top executive were arrested Friday early afternoon. Ikiriho, an information site, close to power, said in a tweet that two of them were trying to “escape from the country” but no independent source confirms the exact circumstances of their arrest.
Selon la Police Nationale du #Burundi, “4 Français ont été arrêtés hier, dont 2 à l’Aéroport de #Bujumbura sur le point de s’échapper vers la #France. Un Burundais aussi appréhendé et tous placés en garde à vue pour enquête dans une affaire d’escroquerie” pic.twitter.com/RTc0A8TciJ
— Ikiriho (@Ikiriho) June 23, 2018
According to RFI sources, the five suspects were arrested on a warrant from the Bujumbura public prosecutor for “forgery and fruad” in connection with a “swindle” in telecommunications.
They were briefly heard on Friday by the National Intelligence Service (SNR) before being separately detained in several prisons across the country.
The Ministry of Public Security explains in its tweet that they are, at this stage, in custody.
Another sources say the prosecutor should begin their interrogation on Monday.
We do not know exactly what they are accused of, but, according to RFI sources, the four French nationals are in connection with a company under Turkish law – International Telecom Services (ITS) – which has a monopoly on everything related to the operation and management of telephone and satellite traffic from and to Burundi.
As such, it brews tens of millions of dollars every year.
As for the Burundian arrested, it is Donatien Ndayishimiye. Alternately advisor to President Pierre Nkurunziza, boss of several telecom companies or director in the Burundian secret service, some have so far lent him a great influence.
What happened then? Nobody can say exactly for the moment, but the five suspects are accused of diverting much of this money, much to the chagrin of some senior Burundian politicians in business with them.
The French embassy in Burundi that we contacted reacted soberly. “We do our job and discretion is in order,” he said.