20170827

US Warns Looters In Africa: You Can't Go Scot Free Anymore

The United States of America (USA) has sent a warning to corrupt African political office holders, who illegally enrich themselves at the expense of their poor people, that they would no longer go scot free. They will be investigated, held accountable and punished.

The warning was given by US Department of Justice after a New York court jailed Mahmoud Thiam, 50, a former minister of mines and geology of Guinea, who was living big in America on the bribe he collected from a Chinese company.

He was jailed seven years.

He will spend three of the years under supervised release, for laundering bribes paid to him by executives of China Sonangol International Ltd. (China Sonangol) and China International Fund, SA (CIF).

“Today’s sentence sends a strong message to corrupt individuals like Thiam that if they attempt to use the U.S. financial system to hide their bribe money they will be investigated, held accountable, and punished,” the Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco of the Department of Justice Criminal Division said in a statement.

“Mahmoud Thiam engaged in a corrupt scheme to benefit himself at the expense of the people of Guinea,” said Blanco.

“Corruption is a cancer on society that destabilises institutions, inhibits fair and free competition, and imposes significant burdens on ordinary law-abiding people just trying to live their everyday lives”, he added.

The warning was reinforced by Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim of the Southern District of New York, who said: "Today’s sentence shows that if you send your crime proceeds to New York, whether from drug dealing, tax evasion or international bribery, you may very well find yourself at the front end of long federal prison term.”