Tables turned at Djibouti corruption trial

Posted on Oct 29 2015 - 9:06am by Editor

Ghana News Agency 27 October 2015

Abdourahman Boreh, the defendant in the corruption case brought against him by the government of Djibouti, has turned the tables by alleging that the country’s President, Ibrahim Omar Guelleh, is corrupt.

When the case began, the government of Djibouti had 16 claims against Mr. Boreh. These have now been reduced by 11 – seven at the start of the trial and a further four on Friday.Lord Falconer, representing the government of Djibouti, argued: “As I understand Mr. Boreh’s case, it is: ‘They [the alleged bribes] were for services generally provided but I only asked for them because I was under such financial pressure from the president.’”Mr Justice Julian Flaux, who is hearing the case, said that “the knowledge of the president, if it’s attributed to the government, could be a defence, and indeed that’s part of Mr Boreh’s defence…”“That’s a perfectly understandable and valid defence, if it works on the facts.”Richard Waller, one of Mr Boreh’s lawyers, noted: “What we are saying is, and we haven’t thrown a full laundry list of every single corrupt demand or anything, we have confined it to a limited number where there is documentary evidence, we say, to support it.The court has already heard allegations that President Guelleh owns about 80 cars and owns a flat in Paris worth €2.24 million – all on an official salary of $5,000 per month.“I should make clear to your Lordship, we think that is in fact a mistake and we think that that is a presidential allowance for expenses.”Regarding the flat, Mr Waller noted:  “…where did the president, with his modest salary, get the €2.24 million from to buy this flat in Paris? The president has declined to answer that question.” He said that the defence was making “mushrooming allegations, which, in my respectful submission, should be kept in check…”GNA

    • He argued that the claims were random and “did not provide sufficient connection to a relevant issue”.
    • Lord Falconer had tried to stop the allegations of corruption against President Guelleh and his government being scrutinised in court.
    • Mr Waller added that according to their estimate, President Guelleh’s salary was about $3,000 a month.
    • Mr Waller told the court: “We asked Gibson Dunn [the law firm representing the government of Djibouti] to confirm what the president’s official salary was, and they came back and said: ‘His official salary in fact is considerably less than that – $10,000 a year.’
    • “What Mr Boreh’s case is in broad terms is that: ‘The president, right from the outset, even in the election campaign in 1998, had always looked to me to pay his share,’” Mr Waller added.
    • However, Lord Falconer contended: “…if it is Mr Boreh’s case, and he flirts with this from time to time, that: ‘I was siphoning money out of these projects and capital shares in order to give them dishonestly to the president’, then although that is a discreditable allegation against the president…, it is absolutely no defence to Mr Boreh of a charge of corruption.”
    • He added: “…for example…he was given power of attorney and the president knew he was going to have his own investment.
    • Mr Boreh, in his witness statement, said there was widespread corruption within the government and the presidency, using this argument as his defence against the claims of bribery and corruption levelled at him.
    • The court is expected to hear from Mr. Boreh in detail about the allegations of corruption against the government of Djibouti and President Guelleh who has refused to appear as a witness to respond to the claims.
    • It transpired in the High Court in London on Friday that in his witness statement Mr Boreh claimed that Mr Guelleh had applied pressure on him to solicit bribes on his behalf.
    • Source: http://www.ghananewsagency.org/world/tables-turned-at-djibouti-corruption-trial-96268
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