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Anti-graft judges to rule on Wade's son

17 April 2014, 06:53

Dakar - Judges in Senegal were deliberating on Wednesday 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 Dakar is expected to announce on Thursday whether it intends to dismiss the case, order that the younger Wade be tried or extend his detention for a further six months.

"Within 48 hours the court we will know if the trial will take place or not," Justice Minister Sidiki Kaba told lawmakers on Tuesday.

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

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

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.

Witch hunt

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". He has consistently denied any wrongdoing and said his wealth was acquired legitimately.

The former ruling Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) accuses the regime of Macky Sall, who defeated 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 (Ecowas) rejected a request for Wade's immediate release, however, 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.



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