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Madagascar Prez Denies Paris Trip Paid by Companies, Explains 4x4s, IMF

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 17 -- When new Madagascar president Hery Rajaonarimampianina came to the UN on March 17, Inner City Press asked him not only about the International Monetary Fund but also about two transparency questions.

 Who paid for his vacation in Paris in late December, and what about the fleet of 4 by 4's in front of his presidential palace recently? Video here, from Minute 7:19; here in French.

  Rajaonarimampianina replied that "I can afford to pay my own holidays." But African Intelligence has reported in great detail that the French construction firm Eiffage and others paid for the trip:

"All their expenses (hotels, meals, river boat trip, armoured car, bodyguards and taxi-plane between Marseille and Paris to catch the home-bound flight on Air Madagascar) were covered by companies Michel Scarbonchi had contacted.... Socialist leader Jean Christophe Cambadélis whom Scarbonchi called on the telephone and then handed over to Hery. On the other hand, Hery received the heads of the companies sponsoring his vacation: the Africa head of the construction company Eiffage and representatives of SMBs, mainly in the agriculture sector."

  Now, Rajaonarimampianina has outright denied this, on camera. What next?

  On the 4 by 4s, Rajaonarimampianina told Inner City Press these were donated to another candidate who didn't make it to the second round, then given to him by the manufacturer. RFI has written about this, but didn't ask a business question until after that of Inner City Press and the new Free UN Coalition for Access, formed due to censorship by the old UN Correspondents Association, including a board member from Agence France Presse. AFP was present on March 17 but asked... nothing.

  (Nor at the UN is French Ambassador Gerard Araud asked about his country's continued sale of Mistral warships to Russia, despite his speeches condemning Russia on Crimea.)

  While Rajaonarimampianina dodged Inner City Press' IMF question, he later said the IMF is open to a program, and that he will meet with the IMF (and World Bank) in Washington. We hear he'll meet with Susan Rice as well. And Exxon? Watch this site.


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