Wednesday January 23 2013

Ex-President Wade's Parisian homes to be searched


A French court has approved a search warrant for the private homes in France of ex-President Abdoulaye Wade, sources said Tuesday.

Senegal's leading online publication said the county court of Paris which handles complaints of financial offences, on Friday finally endorsed an appeal by the Senegalese justice ministry after weeks of examination.

The source said the former Senegalese president will be heard by the court before the search of his Versailles house and another luxurious apartment on the 17th avenue in Paris by a team of French financial investigators.

Although no date for the hearing and search was given, highly-placed sources say the search would likely be executed before the end of this month and the audition by mid February.

The former president's private abode will be searched for evidence that could substantiate claims by the incumbent government of mass plunder and illicit possession of wealth obtained during 12 years of the former leader’s rule.

A French judge is expected to investigate the former leader about his "true identify, his life, his contours as well as his economic and financial options and positions", sources said.


'Ali Baba Gang'

The request for the search was submitted to the French justice ministry which had early offered to help President Macky Sall's government to hunt for ill-gotten wealth planted on its territory.

Analysts said this will be the first time that France will be proceeding with such a measure vis-à-vis an ex-leader from its former colonies.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States had also investigating claims that millions of dollars of suspected stolen money has been deposited in several foreign accounts by members of the former Senegalese government.

Britain and the European Union had also offered to assist the Senegalese government in tracing any allegedly stolen wealth in their respective territories.

President Sall launched a massive campaign to retrieve what the government says are billions of dollars worth of property allegedly plundered from tax payers.

About 25 former senior government ministers including Karim Wade, the son of the former leader, are under active investigation.

Wags called the indictees the "Ali Baba Gang" in Senegal.