Niger: This video doesn’t show the finance minister accused of fraud by the junta

Niger (AFP): A video viewed more than 10 million times on social media has been shared with captions suggesting the new junta in Niger has given the finance minister an ultimatum: either he explains what happened to “missing money” in the state budget, or he will be killed. In reality, the video dates from 2021 and has nothing to do with the recent coup in Niger.

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Many social media accounts have been sharing a video of a man crying in front of the cameras, claiming that it show Niger’s finance minister after the junta gave him “48 hours” to explain “missing” money in the state budget.

The video actually dates from December 2021, and shows Niger’s former justice minister Marou Amadou in tears after paying tribute to his former president.

The fact-check, in detail

A video published on July 29 and viewed more than 10 million times on Twitter shows a man crying in front of the cameras and holding his face in his hands. The person who shared the video claims it shows Niger’s finance minister being ordered by the junta to explain what happened to the “missing money” from public funds. “The army has given him 48 hours […] to explain the country’s failing finances, otherwise he will face execution by a firing squad,” reads the caption.

The video has also been shared since July 29 on Instagram and YouTube in English and on Facebook in French, where it has garnered more than 1,300 views.

On July 26, former head of Niger’s Presidential Guard, General Abdourahamane Tiani, staged a takeover, ordering his presidential guards to detain democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum. Since then, the president and his family have been held hostage in the presidential palace. Tiani declared himself leader of Niger on July 28.

A video of Niger’s former justice minister from 2021

We ran this video through the tool InViD WeVerify (click here to find out how) and found that it was originally posted on December 28, 2021. The caption on the original video, posted on Facebook, reads: “Is Marou Amadou excluded? Does paying tribute to the former president make you cry?”

This video shows Marou Amadou, Niger’s former minister of justice, who held office from April 2011 under President Mahamadou Issoufou, until President Mohamed Bazoum was elected in April 2021. Before General Abdourahamane Tiani took power, Niger’s finance minister was Ahmat Jidoud.

To find out exactly where and when this video was taken, we did some more research. When you type “Marou Amadou” on Google, an article from December 2021 by the Agence Nigérienne de Presse pops up, explaining that the former justice minister had announced the founding of a new think tank on climate and security on December 27, 2021 in Niamey, the capital of Niger, during the Niamey International Conference on Climate in Africa and Human Security.

The images from the conference match the viral video. Marou Amadou is wearing the same blue outfit, the same watch and the same green scarf. He is also seated on a chair in front of a beige background, as in the viral video.

According to the Nigerian humour page Niamey Délire, Amadou reportedly cried after thanking Issoufou for choosing him to be the country’s justice minister. The FRANCE 24 Observers spoke to a local journalist who confirmed this story.

Despite the claims of fraud and embezzlement accompanying this video, there have been no allegations of corruption against Amadou. However, a case of corruption, which involved a network of false invoices, over-invoicing and orders paid but not delivered within the Niger Defence Ministry, made the headlines in Niger in January 2022.

Therefore, this video does not show Niger’s finance minister crying because the junta threatened to kill him if he did not explain where the public money was. Instead, the video was taken in 2021 when the former justice minister paid tribute to Niger’s former president.