Unidentified people have issued death threats against investigative journalist and editor in chief of the Ivorian private newspaper Elephant Déchainé after he published an article on economic malfeasance within a customs agency.
Assale Tiemoko’s publication titled “Single Window Car Clearance: The Great Scandal; 2000 Cars Cleared without Custom Duties”, revealed that luxury cars were fraudulently cleared by individuals who did not pay the statutory duties to the agency that collects duties on imported vehicles for the state. The article said the illegal exits of vehicles have caused huge shortfalls in the tax revenues of the State.
Following the publication on April 24, 2018, which led to the arrest and detention of the Managing Director of the customs agency, Tiemoko began receiving death threats from unidentified persons since April 26.
“We are going to shoot you. You cannot escape,” read one of the messages.
According to Tiemoko, unidentified persons sent the threats to others to pass it on to him.
“We do not know the identity of the people who are behind these threats, but they were sent to the telephones of resource persons with whom we worked in this investigation, and who were asked to pass the message on to me,” Tiemoko told MFWA.
The MFWA condemns the threats on the journalist and his collaborators which is clearly an act of vengeance and an attempt to dissuade them from continuing to expose criminality. We urge the authorities in Cote d’Ivoire to take measures to ensure the security of the victims and to apprehend the culprits.