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Wednesday
Jan302013

After Griffiths case, Chad boots ambassador who ran 'haven for white-collar criminals'

Photo courtesy of WikipediaChad's former ambassador to Canada who was named in the Griffiths Energy bribery case has been fired from his current diplomatic post in South Africa.

Last week a judge ordered Griffiths to pay a C$10.35 million for bribing the wife of Mahamoud Adam Bechir in 2009. Bechir was then Chad’s ambassador to Canada.

A day later, according to reports, Chad's president Idriss Deby Itno expelled Bechir from the diplomatic service.

The National Post quoted a report in Chad as saying 'the president responded to the Canadian decision in the most “severe” way, firing Mr. Bechir for transforming his diplomatic mission into a “haven for white-collar criminals.” '

Bechir also served as Chad’s ambassador to the U.S. and lived in the District of Columbia when he held his post in Canada.

Griffiths Energy paid C$2 million to Bechir's wife for access to oil fields in Chad.

The Calgary-based company self-reported the bribery to U.S. and Canadian authorities after its founder, Brad Griffiths, was killed in a 2011 boating accident.

It was charged earlier this month under Canada's Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act.

'U.S. State Department documents show [Bechir] was named Chad’s envoy to the U.S. in 2004,' the National Post said, 'but a new person took over in July 2012. Canadian documents identify Mr. Bechir as Chad’s ambassador to Ottawa as recently as October, but by November the position was listed as “vacant.”'

Bechir's bio on the U.S. information site AllGov.com said:

'Mahamoud Adam Bechir has served as Chad’s Ambassador to the United States since December 9, 2004. He is also ambassador to Canada, Mexico and Argentina. Bechir had previously served as Coordinator of the High Committee for National Demining in Chad. The previous Chadian ambassador to the U.S., Ahmat Soubiane, was recalled after he publically criticized Chad’s president, Idriss Déby. Having served for five years, Soubiane refused to leave the official residence. Finally, after 16 months, Bechir arrived with his cook, his lawyer, Montgomery County police and officers of the Secret Service, and Soubiane was evicted.'

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