Accused of having embezzled nearly 10 billion CFA francs, the “king of cotton” faces life imprisonment. The Special Assize Court must say, this Friday, whether he is found guilty or not.
Judicial time is not political time. The trial which opened Monday, November 22 before the Special Assize Court for Economic Crimes, in a crowded courtroom, seemed, in fact, out of time. The trial of a world deeply shaken up by successive coups d’état.
Main accused at the helm, Bakary Togola, recognized peasant leader, key economic player in the Malian white gold sector, and former declared supporter of ex-President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. Accused of the embezzlement of nearly 10 billion CFA francs (15 million euros) in the context of the so-called “rebates of the Confederation of Cotton Producers’ Cooperative Societies” case, Togola was, at the material time , both president of the Permanent Assembly of Chambers of Agriculture (Apcam) and of the Confederation of Cooperative Societies of Cotton Producers (C-SCPC).
At the heart of the investigation, the payment by the Malian Company for the Development of Textiles (CMDT) to the C-SCPC of 13.4 billion CFA francs between 2013 and 2019. Of this sum, intended for training and at the level of the members of 7,700 cotton growers’ cooperatives, 9.4 billion have simply disappeared from the books of accounts. And for the prosecution, “a bundle of elements sufficiently supports the thesis of the embezzlement of a substantial part of this amount by Bakary Togola. “