Benin prosecutor: 3 plotted to poison President

The Benin president`s doctor and his niece were a part of a failed plot to poison the leader by changing his medicine with something toxic.

Cotonou (Benin): The Benin president`s doctor and his niece were a part of a failed plot to poison the leader of the West African nation by changing his medicine with something toxic, the state prosecutor said.

Prosecutor Justin Gbenameto said the state has requested that Dr Ibrahim Mama Cisse, one of the president`s nieces Zouberatou Kora and Former Minister of Trade Moudjaidou Soumanou be charged with conspiracy and attempted murder. The three were arrested Sunday.

Gbenameto said late yesterday that the niece and doctor were each promised payment of USD 1.9 million if they carried out the poisoning, and that a fourth person was involved in the plot, businessman Patrice Talon.

The plot to poison Benin President Boni Yayi, however, was foiled the president`s niece had informed her sister who then told the president, the state prosecutor said.

The prosecutor said the plot was largely planned during the president`s recent visit to Brussels, Belgium.

"The niece who accompanied President Boni Yayi during this trip would have been contacted and invited to the hotel where the businessman Patrice Talon was staying," he said, adding that Talon asked Kora to give her uncle the drugs through the physician.

The prosecutor said they determined that Soumanou picked up drugs at the Cotonou airport on October 19, and gave them to Dr Cisse.

The drugs from Soumanou are "drugs that the head of state usually takes but were this time substituted and replaced by toxic ingredients," according to the prosecutor`s statement.

"The judge will decide what happens next," Gbenameto said.

The lawyer for Dr Cisse said it is unclear under what conditions his client gave his account of what happened.