Former Minister Alain Richard Donwahi defends himself

The Ministry of Water and Forestry has been under scrutiny for several months for alleged timber trade. The case was revealed by Jeune Afrique ten days ago. The person who led the ministry for five years, Alain Richard Donwahi, was not re-appointed to the government during the most recent reorganization in April. But he could be elected the next president of COP15, which opens next week in Abidjan. In the press, the former minister denies all links to an alleged timber trade network.

as reported from Abidjan, Peter Pinto

In a press release dated May 2, 2022 and widely circulated in the Ivorian press, the former Minister of Water and Forestry, Alain Richard Donwahi, condemns a “smear campaign”. “Accusations try to make me believe that I would have some connection to a network for smuggling wood,” he writes. In the former minister’s applicant, a survey by the newspaper Jeune Afrique which made revelations about a network of traffickers of precious wood, with presumed branches within the ministry’s organizational schedule.

According to Jeune Afrique, the General State Inspectorate ordered an audit in February. A review confirmed on Wednesday, May 4, by Government Spokesman Amadou Coulibaly: “You will allow me to express my surprise that this issue is suddenly re-emerging. The audit of the Ministry of Water and Forestry is, as we all know, an issue already addressed, namely through this review by the General State Inspectorate.

For now, Alain Richard Donwahi, which was not renewed during the recent government reshuffleis not directly affected, but some of his close associates have also been heard in court.

Since his resignation from the government at the end of April, the name Alain Richard Donwahi has been circulating as the possible choice of the Ivory Coast to become the next president of COP15 for two years. On Wednesday, the government spokesman did not confirm. “I have not learned anything about the appointment of Alain Richard Donwahi as president of COP15. So for me it remains a rumor.”

Alain Richard Donwahi did not respond to requests from RFI.

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