Guinea Court Jails Electoral Commission Officials Over Vote Irregularities

Two officials from Guinea’s electoral commission were jailed for a year over irregularities in the first round of the West African country’s presidential election in June, officials said.

Ben Souka Sylla, president of the National Independent Electoral Commission, and Boubacar Diallo, the body’s planning chief, were imprisoned by a court yesterday in Conakry, the capital, said Mohamed Lamine Doubmia, a lawyer for the opposition Rally of the Guinean People. They were also ordered to pay fines of 2 million Guinean francs ($347), he said.

The two were accused by opposition parties of not submitting results from five constituencies in the June 27 vote to the Supreme Court, which had to validate them.

The commission regrets the “grave verdict” and will hold a meeting this weekend to discuss it, Thierno Saidou Bayo, a spokesman for the body, said in an interview.

Twenty-four candidates competed in the June 27 vote, a year and a half after army Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power following the death of former President Lansana Conte, who ruled for two decades. Guinea hasn’t had a democratic transfer of power since it gained independence from France in 1958.

Cellou Dalien Diallo, leader of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea, garnered 43.7 percent of the vote in June, while Alpha Condé, head of the Rally of the Guinean People obtained 18.2 percent.

Condé’s party said the irregularities reduced the number of votes he received. The verdict proves there was fraud in the first ballot, Martin Conde, a spokeswoman for the party, said in an interview yesterday.

Guinea holds as much as half of the world’s reserves of bauxite, used to make aluminum, more than 4 billion metric tons of “high-grade” iron ore, “significant” diamond and gold deposits, and uranium, according to the U.S. State Department’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ougna Camara in Conakry via Johannesburg at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

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