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GUINEA-BISSAU: President threatens former PM with prison

Abidjan, 8 April 2002 (IRIN) - Guinea-Bissau's president Kumba Yala has said that former prime minister, Faustino Imbali, could face a prison term if he did not return funds he allegedly misappropriated last year, humanitarian sources in the capital Bissau told IRIN on Monday.

Imbali, who was sacked in December following a presidential decree that strongly criticised his government, has denied any wrongdoing. Yala accused Imbali of diverting some 2.5 million euros (US $2 million) which had been intended for the armed forces "to ease some problems," the Portuguese news agency, LUSA, reported.

"The money is returned to the armed forces, or those responsible will go to jail," Lusa reported Yala as saying on Friday.

There has been no official investigation by the judiciary into the allegation against Imbali, sources in Bissau said.

In his latest report to the Security Council on Guinea-Bissau, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said that the political situation had improved slightly but some key issues, including plans to restructure the armed forces, remained unresolved.

Since his election in early 2000 that ended a brief period of military civilian rule, relations between Yala and the military have been strained. There were reports of a failed coup in December 2001, while in November 2000 former junta leader, General Ansumane Mane, staged an aborted attempt to regain control over the armed forces. Mane was killed by loyalist forces shortly afterwards.

Theme (s): Governance,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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