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Guinea: the Ivorian Ahoua Don Mello cited in a land case

More than two months after the fall of Alpha Condé, a corner of the veil is lifting over the barons of the fallen regime. The liabilities of the men who gravitated around the presidential galaxy of the former president, reputed to be a man of networks and close to the lobby of the political and business world, is revealed day after day since the takeover of the country by Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya.

After the scandal which splashed the former Congolese Prime Minister under Joseph Kabila, Matata Ponyo, one of the closest ex-advisers of Alpha Condé, pinned by the justice of his country on alleged embezzlement in connection with the project “Bukango Lonzo »Which forced him to leave Guinea precipitately to return to Congo in order to face justice, another of his foreign advisers, this time of Ivorian nationality, is cited in one of the biggest expropriation scandals land in Guinea. “The breakages of Kaporo-rails, Kipé 2 and Dimesse”, in the suburbs of Conakry. Massive state expropriations that led to the eviction of 1,203 families from their homes and the destruction of at least 2,500 homes.

Victims publish list of potential perpetrators and accomplices

The vacated area called “Koloma Directional Center” supposed to be the relocation site of the administration based in Kaloum, with an area of ​​169 hectares, is considered to come under the reserved areas of the Guinean State. This did not all the same prevent the land administration from issuing land titles to individuals in good and due form, contributing to the occupation of said areas. This manu-militari eviction threw more than 20,000 citizens into the streets, according to the estimates of the victims’ collective and human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, without any prospect of resettlement or compensation.

At the fall of Alpha Condé on September 5, 2021, overthrown by the commander of the Guinean Special Forces, Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, Ahoua Don Mello, the former special adviser to the former president since 2017, in charge of infrastructure, former minister and Laurent Gbagbo’s companion in the struggle within the FPI, was on mission in Moscow at the invitation of Russian employers. Faced with a fait accompli, he will finally accept in September 2021 a proposal from Russian employers to be special advisor in charge of Investments in Africa. It is to this position that he will return to Côte d’Ivoire on October 9, 2021, after 10 years of political exile.

The collective of victims of the domain expropriations of Kaporo Rails made public on November 19, following investigations, a provisional list of personalities that it accuses of being the authors and accomplices of the heists. At the head of the list, the ousted former president Alpha Condé, his minister of the city and regional planning, Ibrahima Kourouma, but also and above all a colony of Ivorians at the heart of the project, and at the head of the company responsible for making and operating the directional center of Koloma on the cleared areas. “Ahoua Don Melo is not involved in our plunder, but he is involved in the sale of our land. There is no doubt about his involvement, ”says the spokesperson for the victims’ collective.

Imaag Holding at the heart of the controversy

This Guinean company specializing in urban land development and housing construction, set up solely to manage and operate the areas recovered on the basis of a public-private partnership (PPP), is owned by Ivorians with at the head of Ahoua Don Mello, adviser to Alpha Condé. This engineer of the bridges and roads, considered one of the closest, among the relatives of the former president, and who was in the most kept secrets of the Sekhoutoureya palace, called on his compatriots to lead the project and the development of the “directional center of koloma” the evicted area. In particular Pierre Christian Mosis, to pilot the company Imaag Holdingen as operational director, also an activist of the FPI, former exile in Ghana. He was arrested in 2013 and extradited to Côte d’Ivoire before settling in Guinea. Benefiting from the almost blind confidence of President Condé, his advisor Ahoua Don Mello, in turn, set out to form his own galaxy formed around Ivorian interests.

The victims’ collective understands that all the arguments developed around the construction of social housing or the relocation of the ministerial departments of the Kaloum peninsula, the administrative and business center of Conakry, towards this “reserved area” was not than a pretext to reappropriate domains for other purposes. Speaking of Ahoua Don Mello, “he created Imaag holding which resells our land. He also introduced to Alpha Condé, a delegation from the Société Générale Côte d’Ivoire bank which granted loans to the Tassec investment Holding Africa company of the Ivorian Mory Diané to build the administrative city which was to bear the name of ‘Alpha Condé, on our own estates,’ says Mamadou Samba Sow. To top it off, the works foreman at Imaag Holding is none other than the Ivorian Patrice Goue, contractual in a technical department of the Ivorian Ministry of Construction and Urbanism.

“In 2019, the government put forward as a pretext for the demolitions, the transfer of public administration from Kaloum to Kaporo-Rails. Two years later, it turns out that these demolitions are only for profit. Orange Guinea and embassies such as Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Ghana as well as mining companies have paid large sums of money to Ibrahima Kourouma (former Minister of the City of Alpha Condé) for the acquisition of unduly expropriated land. A company with opaque activities, Imaag Holding resells the expropriated lands to the highest bidders. Currently, a square meter is negotiated at 2,000 euros ”revealed Samba Sow, the president of the victims’ collective, in mid-September last.

The latter indicates that even economic operators and business leaders in Guinea have received, according to him, offers of 90-year lease on the areas of Kaporo-rails, Kipé 2 and Dimesse for the purpose of construction of houses. housing, shopping centers and offices.

To date, this collective of victims is demanding before the sub-regional jurisdictions, in particular the Court of Justice of the ECOWAS, the restitution of their lands, their compensation and justice for all the damages suffered. Since the fall of the Alpha regime, another judicial front has been engaged in Guinea to bring Guinean justice to indict those mainly responsible for the heists.

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