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Bribery Investigations Advance in Senegal

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade (R) adjusts a ribbon on his son's jacket, Karim Wade, in 2011. Police in Senegal have said they will question Karim Wade as part of bribery investigations.
Two ministers under former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and the country’s current Senate chief have all been called in for police questioning as the new administration works to fulfill its pledge to tackle past corruption.

According to local media, police plan to talk to at least three more former Wade ministers as part of their investigation into bribery under the previous president.

After President Macky Sall was elected in March of this year, he vowed to hold the former president’s government accountable for any past misconduct. These investigations into possible bribes are in the preliminary stages, said Dakar-based lawyer Mouhamed Kebe.

“Under the Wade regime, many of his ministers had been involved in some non-transparent transactions. It seemed that a lot of them became very, very rich in a very short time,” said Kebe. “Very recently the current minister of mining is saying that he has seen a lot of contracts between the state and mining corporations where it is obvious that there is some case of bribery.”

But the matter is also complicated by the fact that President Sall, himself, was a high-ranking minister under Mr. Wade. His experience under the former president included stints both as mining minister and as prime minister.

“Some people from the side of Wade are saying if you are investigating, President Macky Sall should be investigated as well, because he is a former minister of Wade and his former prime minister, and he became rich more than he should do,” said Kebe.

The lawyer added that it is too early in the Sall presidency to tell if the judiciary will be able to act independently of the president’s office. But he said, so far, many are hopeful that these preliminary investigations indicate this government will maintain oversight.

Police have so far questioned former ministers Farba Senghor and Samuel Sarr, who each held a variety of positions in Mr. Wade’s cabinet. They have also questioned Pape Diop, the current president of Senegal’s Senate.

Local media reported that police have also requested to question Karim Wade, son of the former president, who also served in various ministerial roles.