Burundi’s Minister of Commerce, Transport, Industry, and Tourism, Immaculee Ndabaneze, has been sacked for “compromising the economy and tarnishing the image of the country”.

This is according to a decree signed on May 1, 2021, by President Evariste Ndayishimiye, as well as Prime Minister Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni. The decree stated the action against Ndabaneze followed “on the proposal of the Prime Minister and in consultation with the Vice-President”, but gave no further insight into her misdemeanour.

Agence France Press (AFP), quoting sources in the ruling regime, reported Ndabaneze stood accused of having embezzled funds that were destined for the country’s future flagship carrier Burundi Airlines (Bujumbura), and for having sold the last aircraft of the now-defunct Air Burundi (PBU, Bujumbura), Beech 1900C 9U-BHG (msn UC-147), to a South African businessman without her government’s approval.

According to the ch-aviation fleets history module, Air Burundi also operated a fleet of two DHC-6-300s and one MA-60 (but which never saw commercial service).

Ndayishimiye, who took office in June 2020, has made fighting corruption a top priority. The country for years has been ranked amongst the top 10 most corrupt, according to Amnesty International. This is the first time he has fired a minister, but he has dismissed three managing directors and 119 municipal accountants in the past three months over alleged embezzlement. However, none of them has been prosecuted.

Ndayishimiye, in March, said there would be no prosecutions in corruption cases that took place before June 19, 2020, the day he was sworn in. He also publicly exonerated all senior officials from the constitutional obligation to declare assets.

A senior official in the regime told AFP on condition of anonymity that “the president must take into account the fact that the heavyweights of this (ruling) party have become outrageously wealthy over the last 15 years and they are often behind all corruption cases”.