Former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro has been sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison by an Ivorian court. The former Prime Minister has been living in exile since December 2019. This ruling will end Soro’s political ambition of participating in the presidential election, for which he is a candidate.
Guillaume Soro was found guilty of embezzling public fund and money laundering when he bought his Abidjan residence in 2007. This is the period when he was prime minister of a government of national unity. His lawyers his lawyers boycotted the trial, denouncing it as a way to exclude him from October’s election.
Mr. Soro, 47, was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, 6.8 million euros in fines, the confiscation” of his house. He has also been banned from civic duties for five years and ordered to pay 3 million euros in damages to the state of Côte d’Ivoire.
The court also issued a new arrest warrant because the warrants issued in February were null and void.
Unless he appeals successfully, Guillaume Soro will be banned from standing for the October presidential election. He has also been prosecuted since December 2019 for an alleged attempt to “insurrect” the rebels.
Soro’s Fallout with President Ouattara
Soro was quick to react on social networks. He said: “I am still running for the presidency and I will win,” describing the trial as a parody.
Soro also condemned President Alassane Ouattara. In his words, “President Ouattara wears dictator’s clothes with great ease. He orders political killings against his rivals in order to exclude them from the electoral competition”.
Soro has been a long-time ally of President Ouattara but it appears the two have had a falling out. He helped President Ouattara to come to power during the 2010-11 pot-election crisis. It was after Ouattara became president that Soro became President of the National Assembly. However, a fallout happened as a result of Ouattara trying to curb Soro’s presidential ambitions