Posted On July 7, 2017 By In None With 97 Views

37 magistrates face graft claims in first for Burkina

Ouagadougou, July 7, 2017 (AFP)

Authorities in Burkina Faso have accused 37 magistrates of corruption in the first case of its kind in one of the world’s poorest countries, an investigative commission said Friday.
The commission said the magistrates had accepted bribes for freeing defendants on bail and for scheduling hearings in a certain way, saying money changed hands at the offices of investigators and judicial police “before every decision”.
Local media regularly deplore examples of graft in the west African nation, but an official accusation of this kind is unprecedented.
Mazombe Jean Konde, head of the investigation commission, said the probe had looked at 51 cases and heard from 233 people including magistrates, court clerks, lawyers and members of the judiciary police.
“Most of the failures on the magistrates’ part were facilitated by lawyers, court clerks and members of the penitentiary guard,” he said in a statement.
Judicial authorities are now set to decide how to discipline the magistrates, he added.
Some 45 percent of Burkina Faso’s population live below the poverty line, according to the United Nations, and corruption is widespread.
President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, elected in November 2015, made tackling graft one of his key campaign pledges.
He put forward a bill in February last year creating specialised judicial authorities to tackle economic and financial crimes.

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