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The Government in Benin seeks to lift immunity of opposition figures

Benin’s President Patrice Talon

PARIS, France–– A parliamentary source on Monday hinted that the government of Benin is planning and ready to initiate court proceedings against the two opposition lawmakers and the country’s former finance minister.

Both the former finance minister and the two lawmakers were close associates of the country’s former president Thomas Boni Yayi.

The parliamentary source said: “The request came directly to the office of the parliamentary president last Thursday.”

The former finance minister and the two lawmakers are accused of “bad governance and acts of corruption,” the sourced added.

According to President Patrice Talon’s government, the trio allegedly committed the crimes for which they are been investigated while they held office under the previous administration.

Report about the former finance minister and the two lawmakers emerged few days after their party’s annual conference elected them to senior leadership roles.

The country’s parliament is presently on recess and will not resume session until mid-April this year. Upon return, the parliament will then consider whether to remove the immunity of Valentin Djenontin and Idrissou Bako, both of whom are staunch opposition members of parliament and close associates of former president Boni Yayi.

Komi Koutché, the former finance minister who is vying to become the leader of parliament, is also targeted.

Gustave Assah, a civil society activist, accused Talon’s government of conducting a “witch-hunt”.

Adding, “the request to pursue the former minister Komi Koutché… cannot be anything but controversial,” said one of his close allies. Meanwhile, the three-accused person received “no official notification”, according to their entourages.

To prosecute the three individuals would require parliamentary procedures since Benin’s lawmakers enjoy parliamentary immunity during their time in office.

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Michael Harrington

Michael Harrington is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.
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