Ivory Coast: October 27, 2003


The Ivorian government is getting sued for allowing strong-arm extortion tactics to be used against a $45 million cell phone network company. Representatives of the two U.S. companies (Western Wireless International, and Modern Africa Fund Managers, LLC) announced that they had suspended operations of Cora de Comstar, a three-year-old company serving close to 33,000 cellular phone customers and employing 200 telecommunications workers, because of repeated violent harassment of company personnel and raids on corporate premises. 

Legal action has been initiated against the Ivorian government and Alexander Galley, a convicted French felon accused of conducting physical attacks on 
the company in an effort to establish a claim to ownership. On October 10, Galley (along with government militia and police) raided the Cora de Comstar headquarters in Abuja, looting cash reserves and destroying equipment. 

Charges of assault and theft had previously been filed against Galley in the courts, but each time the charges were dropped because Galley was able to buy off judges. Curiously enough, an "Alexander Galley" (real name Raphael Gnardre Dago) was named on the June 2001 UN Security Council resolution banning international travel for Liberian Government officials and others presumed to be working with that government. - Adam Geibel


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