Senegal’s Leader Frees Ex-President’s Son Jailed for Corruption

image001June 27, 2016 (GIN) – The pardoned release of Karim Wade, son of ex-president Abdoulaye Wade, has raised questions about the current Senegalese president’s campaign commitment to fight corruption.

President Macky Sall defeated the elder Wade by promising to end impunity for financial crimes in 2012. In 2013, Karim was accused of illegally amassing about $1.4 billion, but was cleared of some of the charges by a special anti-corruption court in the capital, Dakar.

He was sentenced to six years in prison for corruption and fined $230,000 for “illegal enrichment” during his father’s 12 year rule. He has been in detention since April 2013.

Still, he was recently chosen as the presidential candidate of the main opposition party, the PDS.

Anti-corruption activists are deploring the pardon, calling it politically influenced.

“What happened is pure politics. Because he was released at midnight and after he left Senegal and nobody was aware, that’s unusual. Karim Wade stole this country’s money. We must condemn his acts, he should have served his sentence,” Moustapha Dieye, a Senegalese citizen told the French news agency AFP.

Alternative views were expressed by Karim’s supporters. “I say he did nothing. If he had done any wrong he would not have been the freed. I cannot condemn him for being freed, three years later,” said a man only identified as Racine.

Another supporter of Karim added: “If we must probe into the wealth of most people now, then everyone would be in prison. So I find his release totally normal and I don’t even agree with the fact that he had been locked up,” said Diakhite, another Senegalese resident.

A press release from the presidency said that payment of the fine was not covered by the pardon.

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