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Guinea - 2010 - Sekouba Konate

On December 3, 2009, Camara was wounded by his aide-de-camp in a failed assassination attempt and evacuated to Morocco for medical treatment. National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) Minister of Defense Brigadier General Sekouba Konate stepped in as interim President of the Republic. Camaras wounds were not fatal, but necessitated a prolonged period of rehabilitation.

Camara was flown to Ouagadougou in January 2010, at the invitation of Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore, the ECOWAS-appointed mediator to the Guinean political crisis. Compaore helped broker a deal between Camara and Konate, known as the January 15 Ouagadougou Accords, in which Camara agreed to remain outside of Guinea for an extended recuperation and to officially appoint General Konate as the interim President of the Republic.

The Ouagadougou Accord called for a return to civilian rule by mid-2010. The Accord was signed by Burkinabe President Blaise Campaore (mediator from the Economic Community of West African States), former interim president Konate, and Captain Dadis Camara, who was recuperating in Burkina Faso. In late January, Konate appointed opposition leader Jean Marie Dore prime minister. On 16 February 2010, Dore appointed a National Transitional Council (CNT) as the country's legislative body. The CNT, which had equal representation from civil society, political parties, and the former junta regime, promulgated a new constitution on 07 May 2010.

On June 28, 2010, it was reported that two new media laws had been published in Guinea's government gazette. One law decriminalizes press offenses; the other creates a new media regulatory agency. General Skouba Konat, the country's military leader, promulgated the two laws on June 22. A transitional commission comprising seven journalists drafted the two laws in consultation with media executives, educators, and international experts. The laws are taking effect at [a] time when Guinea is holding an historic presidential election, that may see the end of more than 50 years of dictatorship.

The transitional government led by Gen. Sekouba KONATE paved the way for Guinea's transition to a fledgling democracy. Provisional results were announced 02 July 2010 for Guinea's first round of presidential elections, and a run-off between the two top-scoring candidates is planned for July 18. Former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo won 39.72 percent of the vote in the presidential poll. Long-time opposition leader, Alpha Conde, came in second, winning 20.67 percent of votes. The poll was a landmark election for Guinea that many hope will mark the end to more than 50 years of dictatorial rule.

The vote was meant to return the country to civilian government after a military junta seized power in December 2008. The United States joined other members of the international community, including the African Union and ECOWAS, in supporting these elections, but it was the Guinean government, the electoral commission, civil society, the political party leadership, and the people of Guinea who made it succeed.

In December 2010, longtime opposition leader Alpha Conde, the candidate of the Rally of the Guinean People Party (RPG) was inaugurated as the country's first democratically elected president since independence from France in 1958.

Sekouba Konate, the former President of Guinea in West Africa and later General Commander of the Security Forces of the African Union, pleaded guilty December 1, 2015 to charges of bulk cash smuggling and false statements. In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, on June 15, 2013, General Konate arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport from Ethiopia and proceeded through Customs and Immigration illegally carrying thousands of dollars in undeclared cash. General Konate previously had applied for and received a G-4 visa to visit the United States based upon his employment with a foreign government. From in or about January 2010 to December 2010, General Konate served as the transitional President of Guinea following a military coup. From in or about December 2010 to the present, he had served as the General Commander of the Security Forces of the African Union a military organization of 54 member states.

Upon his arrival at Dulles Airport, General Konate approached Primary Inspection and handed the assigned officer from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), among other things, a signed Customs Declaration form that falsely and willfully represented that he was not carrying over $10,000 in U.S. currency or its equivalent anywhere on his person or in his effects. When asked by the CBP Officer for a verbal confirmation, General Konate falsely and willfully repeated the same representation, even though he knew that he was carrying far in excess of $10,000, which was concealed on his person and in his luggage, in order to evade a currency-reporting requirement.

Following his referral to Secondary Inspection for further investigation, General Konate encountered two other CBP Officers and a Special Agent with Homeland Security Investigations. When he was asked again by the officers whether he was carrying over $10,000, General Konate this time responded that he was and amended his Customs Declaration form to reflect the $14,000 in U.S. currency that he was carrying in his wallet. In truth and in fact, General Konate knew that he was carrying significantly more currency at the time and willfully and materially made a false statement on his Customs Declaration form that misrepresented the actual amount of currency that he had concealed in his luggage. Based upon the inconsistency in his prior responses, CBP Officers conducted a preliminary search of General Konates luggage. The search revealed an additional $30,750 in U.S. currency, which was divided into several stacks of money and was concealed in various compartments of General Konates luggage.

Subsequent to the discovery of the $30,750, CBP Officers asked General Konate to complete a document, a FinCEN 105 form, that he knew would be filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of Treasury. General Konate completed and signed the FinCEN 105 form in the presence of the officers and represented that he was carrying a total of only $44,750 in currency, which accounted for the $14,000 in his wallet and the $30,750 that had been found during the search. When General Konate signed the FinCEN 105 form, he willfully and materially misrepresented the total amount of money that he had concealed in his luggage.

After General Konate signed the FinCEN 105 form, CBP Officers conducted a second and more thorough search of his luggage. During the search, officers discovered an additional $20,020 in U.S. currency, which again was divided into several stacks of money and was concealed in various compartments of General Konates luggage. Following the searches, General Konate was found in possession of a total of $64,770 in U.S. currency, in stark contrast to his initial representation on his Customs Declaration form that he was not carrying over $10,000. During his encounters with officers, General Konate repeatedly made statements that the questioning of him and accompanying searches were improper given his status as the former President of Guinea and current Commanding General of the African Union forces.

General Konate was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 7, 2015, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when sentenced on Feb. 19, 2016. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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