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Sao Tome Shocked by Missing Funds

December 15, 1998

SAO TOME, Sao Tome and Principe (AP) _ President Miguel Trovoada declared Tuesday he was ``shocked″ by revelations that $1 million was missing from a government account in Paris and pledged a full investigation into the scandal.

Central Bank chief Carlos Quaresma last week confirmed a report in the Noticias newspaper that the money was transferred out of the account without official authorization.

Quaresma has sent a team to the French capital to try and trace the money. He declined to name the French bank involved.

Opposition parties have demanded a parliamentary hearing into the affair, while the Supreme Court ordered an independent audit of the central bank’s accounts.

The impoverished twin-island nation of 120,000 people has only $15 million in reserves, stifling public investment. About 65 percent of its people live in abject poverty and 45 percent are unemployed.

Sao Tome and Principe lies in the Gulf of Guinea off the western coast of Africa.

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