French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his son Thomas were invited to “to present oneself” before a Malian examining magistrate, in Bamako, about the awarding of a contract for the manufacture of biometric passports to a Breton company, in 2015.
“The summons dates from the 20 april 2022. She invites the French minister and his son to appear on Monday 20 june at 8 hours in the office of examining magistrate Mahamoudou Dicko, of the economic and financial center of the High Court of Commune III of Bamako.” The Nigerian bi-weekly The Event sums it up like this the content of a summons which has been circulating extensively since Wednesday evening on West African WhatsApp accounts. It mentions an offense of“harm to public property” at the expense of the Malian state.
At the origin of the dispute, the attribution, in 2015, of the manufacture of Malian biometric passports to the Breton company Oberthur Technologies [devenue Idemia], while a Canadian company offered more advantageous conditions. At the time, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (IBK) was president of Mali, and relations with the French authorities were much more fluid than today.
The affair broke out in June 2021, shortly after Assimi Goïta came to power in a new coup. Jean-Yves Le Drian was suspected of having been influential in lobbying in favor of the company established in his region. The investigation had also revealed that the name of his son, Thomas Le Drian, was associated with Idemia.
Eight months later, on February 22, 2022, a complaint was filed against the two Frenchmen by the Malian movement Maliko. “According to him, this market was awarded by mutual agreement to the company Idemia without a call for tenders or a call for applications. [ouvert] to competition, summed up then Maliweb. Thus, the procedures and rules [du] Public Procurement Code have been blithely violated.” The Malian site points out that in 2016 this transaction had “the subject of strong questioning by deputies in the National Assembly”.
“Even if there is very little chance that Jean-Yves Le Drian and his son, Thomas, will show up on the 20 June to the Malian justice, this summons comes to poison, once again, the diplomatic relations between Paris and Bamako”, adds The Event.