Former Guinea-Bissau Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira has been banned from leaving the country due to a judicial review in an investigation into an attempted coup in 2021, the Bissau prosecutor’s office told AFP on Wednesday.
Pereira is a member of parliament and leader of the former ruling PAIGC party, which has dominated political life in Guinea-Bissau since independence in 1974, was President Umaro Sissoco Embalo’s opponent in the run-off presidential election in January 2020, the results of which he is contesting.
“Domingos Simoes Pereira has been under judicial supervision since Tuesday,” Bacary Biaye, the country’s public prosecutor, told AFP on Wednesday.
The prosecutor general’s office issued a statement on Tuesday evening announcing “a measure of coercion” against Mr. Pereira from Tuesday.
This “decision prevents him from leaving the country without the authorization of the public prosecutor”, the statement said.
Pereira is officially accused, while he was prime minister, of having allowed the disbursement of 5 million dollars to Guinea-Bissau businessmen to pay debts owed to local banks, according to official sources.
He is accused of not having consulted the National Assembly before granting the disbursement.
He is also cited in an alleged coup attempt against President Embalo on 12 April 2021, according to the official document.
A meeting scheduled for Monday at the National Assembly to consider the request to lift immunity was not held due to a lack of quorum, notably because of the absence of PAIGC MPs, according to parliamentary sources.
Out of 102 deputies in the National Assembly, the presidential majority has at least 53 deputies, thanks to an alliance with other parties. The PAIGC has 47 MPs.
Guinea-Bissau, a small West African country with a population of about two million, has a history of coups. Since its independence from Portugal in 1974, it has experienced a series of coups, military or not, successful or abortive, the last of which was failed on 1 February.