Home » Benin seizes assets of exiled chicken tycoon Sebastien Ajavon over alleged tax fraud

Benin seizes assets of exiled chicken tycoon Sebastien Ajavon over alleged tax fraud

by Feyisayo Ajayi

Law enforcement agencies in Benin on Fri., July 1, seized household items from the Contonou residence of Beninese chicken tycoon and 2016 presidential candidate Sebastien Ajavon.

On March 22, the Supreme Court ordered the seizure of the businessman’s house and gave him one month to sell his property and start paying a fine amounting to more than 160 million CFA francs ($934,800) for alleged VAT fraud. He was also sentenced to five years in prison.

On Friday, local television stations in Benin broadcasted videos of movers taking furniture from his house, including armchairs and golden tables. A black luxury sedan was also seized from the property and loaded onto a truck. The movers were accompanied by security forces and a bailiff. The seizure of the property was requested by Beninese government.

Ajavon, who came in third after the first round of the presidential elections, has since lived in exile in France where he obtained political refugee status. He has granted numerous interviews in the past and noted that he considers himself the victim of legal harassment.

While Ajavon has been sentenced to five years in prison for VAT fraud, he has also been sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison in another case for alleged international drug trafficking. He is listed as a wanted person on a website of the Beninese Justice Ministry and an international arrest warrant was issued against him on Oct. 18, 2018.

Ajavon, 52, built his fortune in the food and media industries. He is the founder of Cajaf-Comon, Benin’s largest supplier of frozen chicken, and he owns the Sikka TV station and Radio Soleil FM, among other ventures.

In 2016, he ran for president and received almost one-quarter of the votes in the first round of the election. He subsequently dropped out of the race and supported fellow businessman Patrice Talon, who ultimately won the elections. The two have since fallen out with each other.


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