DAKAR, SENEGAL. The son of former Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade, Karim Wade, could be sentenced to a lengthy jail term if he fails to bring ‘tangible proof’ of the legitimacy of his current wealth, which is estimated at over 1 billion euros (694 billion FCFA).
Wade, a long serving minister in the government of his father, is suspected of stealing billions of euros of state money with the purpose of enriching himself. Reports said he owns 15 companies, a private jet, several properties, including luxury mansions in US, UK, France and Luxembourg, and several bank accounts in the Virgin Islands and Luxembourg.
Wade was arrested on Monday evening and spent a second night in custody in Colobane near the Senegalese capital Dakar.
His lawyers have described Wade’s arrest as a witchhunt of members of the former regime, and have called the charges formulated against their client trumped-up and politically motivated.
Wade’s lawyers said they have presented 3000 pages of solid evidence of their client’s innocence, but the national director of prosecutions spoke of 42 pages not 3000, and said the evidence was weak and therefore unconvincing.
Wade’s father, the former president of Senegal, has been living in France since his defeat in the presidential poll by Macky Sall. Sall also served in Wade’s government as a prime minister, president of the national assembly and minister.
Judicial sources said the former president could be arrested if he sets foot in Senegal, as the fight against the corruption reaches boiling point in this politically stable but corrupt West African nation.
Senegal, ranked 94th in the Transparency International 2012 Index, is one of the most corrupt countries in West Africa and Africa.