Patrice Talon a wealthy businessperson who till recently was very close to President Boni Yayi is now in exile, fleeing to escape charges of assassination attempt on the Head of State.
According to rumors now confirmed by Patrice Talon, Boni Yayi benefited from his backing for his election in 2006 and his reelection in 2011. In an interview with a journalist of the French radio, RFI, Patrice Talon said that he used his resources and his ties to help Boni Yayi win in both 2006 and 2011.
Just after Boni Yayi’s reelection in 2011, Patrice Talon’s profitable contract with the government on the importation of agricultural fertilizers and pesticides for cotton production was suspended. The government also withdrew from another contract with the businessperson which allowed his company named Benin Control to verify the transit of goods at Cotonou Harbor. This contract was part of the government reforms concerning Cotonou Harbor. Patrice Talon’s company was chosen after contending in an international tender.
However, the troubles of the wealthy businessperson who used to be a close associate of Boni Yayi and whose ties with the president won him many profitable contracts had just began. During his three-hour interview with three journalists broadcasted on both public and private local televisions and radios on August 1st, 2012, the Benin Independence Day, in a rare statement, Boni Yayi accused different people of fomenting a crisis and seeking to destabilize his regime. He mentioned some businesspeople mainly Patrice Talon.
Last October, the public was taken by surprise by a statement of the general prosecutor that charged Patrice Talon and four other accused persons of assassination attempt against Boni Yayi. Patrice talon was said to have promised the niece and the personal doctor of the Head of State 1 billion of CFA Franc, each of them, if they succeeded in injecting a poisonous drugs to him. Moudjaidou Soumanou, a former trade minister was also charged for his role in the alleged plot. He is accused of transporting the poisonous drugs to Cotonou Airport on a flight of the French Airliner. According to the prosecutor general, all the accused people have pleaded guilty.
In his interview with a French journalist on RFI, Patrice Talon denied all involvement in the alleged plot and stated that since he refused to back Boni Yayi’s plan to amend the constitution and have a third term in office, he has been in trouble. In October of this year, he had to take to the bush to flee the country when he received a phone call from sources that he did not disclose warning him to leave the country within one hour otherwise he would be in jail.
According to him, Boni Yayi clearly threatened him last time they saw one another:
‘Patrice, you know, you are in danger, if you keep resisting me, because after all, I am the President of Benin. The President may be your father, your brother or even your son; you should know a head of State could be dangerous to you. Review your stand towards me. I'm still here.’
Meanwhile, the son-in-law of the former trade minister, Franck Gomez, who lives in the US denied the allegation maid by the general prosecutor that Soumanou pleaded guilty for the charges against. He stated that the former minister was subjected to torture, confined in a cell of one meter square, and banned from have access to his relatives and foods. He is said to be threatened with death if he does not confess to take part in the alleged plot.