Former Senegal president's son awaits ruling

Court due to rule whether to dismiss case, order Karim Wade to be tried or extend his detention over corruption charges.

     karim Wade is alleged to have acquired by corrupt means companies and property valued at $1.4bn [Reuters]
    karim Wade is alleged to have acquired by corrupt means companies and property valued at $1.4bn [Reuters]

    Judges in Senegal are due to rule on the fate of former president Abdoulaye Wade's son Karim, detained for a year on corruption charges after accumulating a fortune worth more than $1bn.

    The anti-corruption court in the capital Dakar was expected on Thursday to announce whether it intended to dismiss the case, order that the younger Wade be tried, or extend his detention for a further six months, the AFP news agency reported.

    "Within 48 hours we will know if the trial will take place or not," Sidiki Kaba, the justice minister, told politicians on Tuesday.

    Wade, who held a number of cabinet posts during his father's presidency, was initially remanded in custody on April 17 last year.

    He is alleged to have acquired by corrupt means companies and property valued at $1.4bn, including land across Dakar, a fleet of luxury cars, and a number of companies operating across Africa, including media and finance firms, according to AFP.

    'Witch hunt' 

    Under Senegalese law, investigators would normally have had a maximum of six months to investigate the 45-year-old before sending him to trial or dismissing the case.

    But the anti-corruption court extended the pre-trial detention period in October for another six months, adding a fresh charge relating to an unexplained sum of $205m which prosecutors say Wade deposited into several Monaco bank accounts.

    An account in Singapore containing $95m was attributed to him this week.

    Wade refused last week to answer questions from investigating judges, stating that the "charges against me are political and fanciful", but he has consistently denied any wrongdoing and said his wealth was acquired legitimately.

    The former ruling Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) accuses the government of Macky Sall, who ended the 12-year rule of Wade's father in 2012 presidential elections, of conducting a "witch hunt" against the PDS hierarchy since it came to power.

    In July last year, the regional court of the Economic Community of West African States rejected a request for Wade's immediate release, ruling that Senegal was not violating his rights by detaining him.

    Kaba said Wade was entitled to a fair trial if the case went ahead.

    "All those implicated in the hunt for alleged ill-gotten gains benefit from the presumption of innocence, including Karim Wade," he said. 

    SOURCE: AFP


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