Niger Strips Ex-Ruler Of Immunity In Quest For Missing Millions

Niger has removed former President Mamadou Tandja's legal immunity, his lawyer confirmed on Thursday, as it hunts for 400 billion CFA francs ($780 million) that has gone missing.

Tandja ruled the uranium-rich West African country for more than 10 years. He was ousted in a 2010 military coup when he tried to tweak the constitution to extend his rule.

The military junta, which was succeeded by a democratically elected government in 2011, had previously tried and failed to bring graft charges against Tandja.

Tandja's lawer, Oumarou, did not say whether the former president had already been called in for questioning.

Tandja said at at the time of his overthrow that he had left about CFA 400 billion CFA, or about a quarter of the poor West African country's current annual budget. The Treasury has denied the existence of the sum.

(1 US dollar = 512.7900 CFA franc)

Source: Reuters Africa
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