Page last updated at 12:53 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Guinea calls corruption hearings

Military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara
Moussa Dadis Camara seized power after Lansana Conte's death last month

Guinea's new military government has summoned several ex-ministers and business leaders to appear before a commission investigating graft claims.

Some 14 people, including the former ministers for sport and finance and the ex-chief of protocol under the late president, have been called.

The hearings are due to be held in the capital Conakry at a military barracks.

Army Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power last month when President Lansana Conte, who had ruled since 1984, died.

The BBC's Alhassan Sillah in Conakry says the inquiry is seen as President Camara's first concrete steps to stamp out corruption, as he promised when he took over the mineral-rich West African country in December.

Travel bans

Former Finance Minister Ousmane Dore has been summoned to account for $5m (3.6m) which was allocated for the country's 50th independence anniversary last year.

Ex-Sports Minister Baidy Aribot will be quizzed over how nearly $15m (11m) funding for the national football team's participation in the African Cup of Nations in Ghana last year was spent.

Our correspondent says the inquiry involving the former state chief of protocol is perhaps the most eye-catching.

Idrissa Thiam, who is believed to have left the country several months ago, has been summoned to explain the whereabouts of $40m (30m) of funding.

State radio said on Wednesday night that the 14 were banned from travelling outside the country until investigations were complete.

Failure to adhere to this, the announcement added, would lead to property being confiscated.

Earlier this month, the military junta announced a government in which soldiers will hold the defence, security, finance and justice ministries. No political parties' representatives were included.

President Camara's National Council for Democracy and Development has promised to stand down and hold elections by 2010.

Guinea is to remain suspended from both the African Union and the West African regional bloc Ecowas until the polls are held.

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