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$6 Million Found Missing From Former Guinea-Bissau President's Account - 2004-02-21


Officials of the interim government in Guinea-Bissau announced Saturday that they have discovered nearly $6 million is missing from the accounts of the nation's former president and his government.

The West African nation of Guinea-Bissau appointed auditors to review the accounts of former president Kumba Yala, whose government was overthrown in a coup in September 2003.

The current interim president, Henrique Rosa, who was appointed two weeks after Kumba Yala was removed from office, organized the statewide audit.

The commission said it discovered funds were missing and unaccounted for in the offices of the former president, prime minister, several ministries and the public treasury. The total was put at nearly $6 million.

A spokesman for President Rosa was quoted as saying the government would seek out those responsible for the missing funds, and hand down appropriate punishment, to set an example for anyone handling public money.

According to the interim government, the country would require nearly $35 million to pay its civil servants and to eliminate the debt left by the deposed government of Kumba Yala.

A civil war in Guinea-Bissau in 1998 shattered the economy in the small African country, where the majority of people survive on less than $1 a day.

The interim government says it expects to hold legislative elections in March. The vote had been postponed five times by the previous government.

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