|09CONAKRY185||2009-03-26 12:09:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Conakry|
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CONAKRY 000185
1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Politics in Guinea continue to be fluid
since the coup d'etat on 23 December 2008. Given these
circumstances, Post will periodically transmit roundups of
significant political and economic events not covered in
other reporting. This roundup covers the period between 6
March and 25 March, and includes new customs inspection
procedures, the arrest of former Prime Minister Souare and
three former ministers of mines, the suspension of three
ministers, and a falling out between Dadis and his Minister
of Commerce. END SUMMARY.
NEW CUSTOMS INSPECTION PROCEDURES
2. (SBU) During the week of March 16, CNDD President Moussa
Dadis Camara decreed that all container traffic at the Port
of Conakry must now be physically opened and inspected by
Customs agents, in addition to passing through the electronic
scanner. The measure was reportedly instituted to ensure the
quality of foodstuffs. According to Embassy contacts, a
container of live chickens had arrived at the port a week
earlier, but the chickens had died en route to Conakry.
Unfortunately, the importer sold the dead chickens into the
local market for consumption, causing a number of people to
become sick. Other contacts said that the CNDD was informed
of "suspicious" containers moving through the port.
Suspicious items included narcotics and "food unfit for human
3. (C) As the decree did not distinguish between commercial
and diplomatic shipments, GSO went down to the port with a
copy of the Vienna Convention in hand and informed port
officials that they were not allowed to open diplomatic
shipments. Port officials agreed and Embassy has not had any
problems. However, local business contacts are concerned
about the additional security measures, which they see as
inefficient and unnecessary. One such importer privately
spoke with the Customs Director to ask him to cancel either
the physical inspection or the required electronic scan. The
Director reportedly told him that he would not conduct the
physical inspections, but would continue with the usual
procedure of scanning containers.
DADIS TAKES ON THE MINING SECTOR
4. (U) During a mining forum on March 19, Dadis announced
the immediate suspension of the Ministers of Cooperation and
Planning because they were not present at the forum's
opening. Dadis reportedly later retracted the Minister of
Planning's suspension when he discovered that the Minister
had not attended because he was not feeling well. The
Minister of Cooperation's suspension was never formally
announced through a decree so contacts say it is unclear
whether or not he is still suspended.
5. (U) Dadis also noted that the Director of the Ashanti
Gold Mining Company (SAG) was absent at the mining forum and
subsequently announced that SAG was henceforth closed. The
company closed down operations over the weekend, but reopened
on March 23. According to a contact at SAG, Dadis granted
the company permission to resume operations after the SAG
Director met with Dadis to resolve the issue.
6. (U) During the mining forum, Dadis commented that any
company interested in the Simandou Project must build a
railroad between Simandou and Conakry. Although the status
of the contract is unclear, the Simandou Project is part of
Rio Tinto's iron ore concession in the Forest Region.
7. (C) Finally, Dadis announced that he was setting up a
commission to review the country's mining contracts. The
commission is comprised of six members: Ahmed Kante (former
Minister of Mines), Louis M'Bemba Soumah (union leader), Dr.
Ibrahima Fofana (union leader), Alpha Conde (head of RPG
political party), Sidya Toure (head of UFR political party),
and Jean Marie Dore (head of UPG political party). Dr.
Fofana told Pol LES over the telephone on March 24 that by
establishing the commission, Dadis is honoring union demands
made during the 2007 strike. However, Fofana commented that
although he appreciated the gesture, the commission is
nothing more than a verbal designation until made official by
a presidential decree. Jean-Marie Dore told Pol LES that the
commission plans to meet soon to define its operational plan.
During a March 25 meeting with Pol/Econ Chief, Sidya Toure
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was less convinced. He said he was willing to serve on the
commission, but its status and role is as of yet unclear.
MATAP MINISTER SUSPENDED
8. (SBU) Dadis' suspensions did not end with the economic
ministers. The following day, he suspended the Minister of
Territorial Administration and Political Affairs (MATAP), a
suspension that most view as "official" because it was
announced as a presidential decree over national radio.
Although no explanations were provided, some Embassy contacts
suggest that the suspension was due to the Minister's failure
to provide Dadis with an official briefing after returning
from a trip to the Forest Region. Other contacts said that
the Minister addressed a Forest audience in a local tribal
language, which Dadis saw as intentionally encouraging
ethnocentrism. Still others said that the MATAP minister
attempted to replace some local prefects without Dadis'
HIGH PROFILE ARRESTS
9. (U) Just a few days after appointing Ahmed Kante, a
former Minister of Mines, to the new mining commission, the
CNDD had him arrested on embezzlement charges along with
three other former ministers of mines: Ahmed Tidiane Souare
(who was also Prime Minister from May to December 2008),
Louceny Nabe, and Ousmane Syllah. All four individuals are
reportedly being held at PM3, a gendarmerie prison, where
they have been since March 23. A local press report
(aminata.com) indicates that the four former ministers
embezzled a combined total of more than 26.5 billion GnF
($5.5 million). Prior to his arrest, Dadis had publicly
recognized Kante for his patriotism and integrity.
NO SPECIAL FAVORS FOR DADIS' FAMILY
10. (U) According to Guinea's national radio/television
station, Dadis had a major falling out with his Minister of
Commerce, Colonel Korka Diallo, on March 24. Dadis'
daughter, Madeleine Dadis Camara, reportedly sent a letter to
the Director of Total requesting a license to transport fuel.
The letter was forwarded to Minister Korka who initialed his
consent and then sent it back to the Director of Total who
later informed Dadis of his daughter's request. When Dadis
found out, he was reportedly furious and immediately convened
an emergency meeting with members of the CNDD, the Prime
Minister, and Minister Korka.
11. (U) During the meeting, Dadis reprimanded Minister
Korka, emphasizing that the entire government is aware of
Dadis' position on handing out undue favors to members of his
family. Dadis characterized Korka's actions as a deliberate
attempt to undermine Dadis' integrity, ethics, and family
values. He argued that he cannot denounce corruption and
arrest people accused of such if his own daughter is
soliciting favors from Dadis' ministers. Since Dadis
apparently considered the matter a personal slight, he
announced that he would be filing a complaint against Korka
to the Minister of Justice. Korka attempted to explain his
actions several times, but was repeatedly cut off by Dadis.
Dadis finally allowed him to apologize after the Prime
Minister and the Minister of Defense (Vice President Sekouba
Konate) pleaded with Dadis to give Korka a second chance.
SAUDI ARABIAN EMBASSY TO REOPEN
12. (U) Following a March 24 cabinet meeting, the Minister
of Communication announced that Saudi Arabia would be
reopening its embassy in Guinea in the next few weeks. Saudi
Arabia had closed its embassy shortly after the December 23