Togo’s opposition demands answers over French tycoon

Vincent Bollore was charged in France last month in connection with the awarding of lucrative port concessions in Togo and Guinea
AFP

Lome (AFP) – Togo’s opposition says its wants answers from the government about its dealings with French tycoon Vincent Bollore, who has been charged in France over his business dealings in Africa.

The main opposition grouping the National Alliance for Change (ANC) called on Prime Minister Selom Komi Klassou to provide details about Bollore’s involvement in the main port in Lome.

ANC president Isabelle Manavi Ameganvi on Wednesday said a previous letter requesting information, sent two years ago, “remained unanswered”.

Bollore, 66, was charged last month in connection with the awarding of two lucrative port concessions in Lome and the Guinean capital Conakry.

It was alleged his group’s communications arm undercharged the presidents of Togo and Guinea for work on their election campaigns as sweeteners for contracts to operate both ports.

The industrialist has denied any wrongdoing.

Ameganvi called on Klassou to answer questions in parliament, in particular over exact details of the tendering process for the Lome port concession.

She also wanted to know how much the Bollore group paid to Togo’s treasury since 2010 from contracts linked to state projects.

Togo’s civil service minister Gilbert Bawara said last week that the government was “unconcerned” by the French case against Bollore.

He called it “ridiculous, scandalous and even a bit condescending to imagine that… a communications firm could have any influence whatsoever over a presidential election in an African state”.

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