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Burundi’s Ex-Finance Minister Accused of Financial Malfeasance

In Burundi, state auditors have accused the former finance minister for allegedly stealing six point five million dollars from the state coffers. This comes after Denise Sinankwa authorized a double payment to an oil importer, Interpetrol. The auditors have presented their report to state prosecutors, urging them to press charges against Sinankwa. Meanwhile, the former finance minister who is currently out of the country has dismissed the allegations and has promised to return to the country if she is guaranteed a fair trial.

Hafsa Mossi is the Burundian government spokeswoman. From the capital, Bujumbura, she tells VOA English to Africa service reporter Peter Clottey that investigations are ongoing to ascertain the truth about the allegations against the former finance minister.

“There can’t be any reaction apart from waiting for the investigation to be finished. From what I heard from the auditors, they’ve started the investigations and as soon as they get finished then we would perhaps comment on that,” Mossi noted.

She said although she could not predict the period of the investigation, she believes it would not take long for the auditors to come out with their findings.

“I can’t tell, but I think it would be done as quickly as possible. It won’t take long because all the population is waiting for the report and for the investigation to be done to establish the responsibilities,” she said.

Mossi disagreed with speculations that the former finance minister was sacked from her position because of her alleged complicity in the graft allegations.

“I wouldn’t say that, you know, if the government wants to get somebody into the government he would do so, and the constitution gives him the power to do that… so I can’t tell she was ousted from the government because of that. But what I know is that there are a lot of things that are being said about her (former finance minister) and I think we can just wait and see what the investigations are going to be,” Mossi pointed out.

She dismissed as unfortunate accusations that President Pierre Nkurunziza is soft on graft.

“I don’t think he has been soft on graft; I think people are not being patient enough. What I would say is let the justice (ministry) do the work it needs to do, and as soon as they get the results, people would be informed; the population would be informed. I don’t think he’s been soft. You know what happened to the former minister of finance; you know about some other people in good positions in the government who have been involved with corruption and stuff. So I don’t think he’s been soft, people are not being patient enough,” she said.