FORMER Mali president Amadou Toumani Touré is to be investigated for high treason, officials revealed yesterday.
The office of prime minister Oumar Tatam Ly said it had presented the case to Mali’s highest court.
His government said it has accused Touré of failing in his duty as commander of the armed forces when Islamist militants attacked the country’s north last year.
Touré was ousted in a military coup in April 2012 when he fled to Senegal having been president since 2002. He is still believed to be living in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.
Last year’s coup plunged Mali into chaos, allowing an alliance of ethnic Tuareg separatists and Islamists to take over the northern desert region.
Earlier this year, the al- Qaeda-linked insurgents were driven out of the major towns with the help of more than 5,000 troops from France and West Africa.
In a televised statement, government spokesman Mahamane Baby said Touré would be investigated for “his participation in an exercise to demoralise the army by naming incompetent officers and soldiers, whose patriotism was questionable, to high-level posts”.
Touré formally resigned in April last year, as part of a deal for the soldiers to hand back power. He first seized power in 1991 from long-time military ruler Moussa Traoré.
Touré organised multi-party elections and stood down before winning the 2002 presidential contest.
The coup, which was partly triggered by anger at government corruption and failure to equip the armed forces, took place weeks before Touré was due to step down. His ousting caused a rift between pro- junta soldiers and those loyal to the former president.
General Amadou Sanogo, who led the coup, was last month charged with murder and a series of other crimes.
A spokesman for the prime minister said Touré was also accused of allowing the armed forces to deteriorate, thereby destroying an instrument of national defence.
France still has more than 2,000 troops in northern Mali, where Islamists periodically carry out attacks.
Mali’s current president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, made Ly, a leading economist, Mali’s prime minister in September when the troubled West African nation began to set up a government charged with recovering after months of political chaos and war.
Ly, 49, was an adviser to the governor of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), based in Dakar.
Born in Paris, Ly gained France’s highest teaching diploma from the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, a masters degree in economic history from the Sorbonne and a diploma from ESSEC, one of Europe’s top business schools based near the French capital.
He began his career at the World Bank before moving via the general secretariat of the president of Mali to an analyst role at the BCEAO in 1994.
He was given the role of director of studies at the bank and rose to the position of chief financial officer, a post which he held for six years before he was promoted to national director for Mali and then adviser to the governor.