Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 13 November 2019

Ousted Sudanese president investigated for money laundering after piles of cash found in home

More than Dh26m was found in various currencies when Omar Al Bashir’s residence was searched

Sudanese protesters wave national flags and shout slogans during a protest outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum. AFP
Sudanese protesters wave national flags and shout slogans during a protest outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum. AFP

Prosecutors have begun investigating ousted Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir on charges of money laundering and possession of large sums in foreign currency without legal grounds.

A judicial source said on Saturday that military intelligence had searched Mr Al Bashir's home and found suitcases loaded with more than 6 million euros (Dh 24.7m), $351,000 (Dh 1.2m) as well as five million Sudanese pounds (Dh 385,000).

"The chief public prosecutor... ordered the [former] president detained and quickly questioned in preparation to put him on trial," Reuters news agency quoted the judicial source as saying.

"The public prosecution will question the former president in Kobar prison," the source added.

Relatives could not be immediately reached on Saturday for comment about the investigation.

Mr Al Bashir, who is also being sought by the International Criminal Court over allegations of genocide in the country's western Darfur region, was ousted on April 11 by the military following months of protests against his rule and had been held at a presidential residence.

The former leader’s family said this week that Mr Al Bashir had been moved to the high-security Kobar prison in Khartoum.

As president Mr Al Bashir often played up his humble beginnings as the child of a poor farming family in Hosh Bannaga, a small village consisting mainly of mud houses on the eastern bank of the Nile some 150 kilometres north of Khartoum.

The Sudanese Professionals' Association, the group leading the protests, has called for Mr Al Bashir and members of his administration to be held to account, for a purge of corruption and cronyism and an easing of the economic crisis that worsened during the president’s last years in power.

On Wednesday, Sudan's transitional military council ordered the central bank to review financial transfers since April 1 and to seize "suspect" funds, according to state news agency SUNA.

The council also ordered the "suspension of the transfer of ownership of any shares until further notice and for any large or suspect transfers of shares or companies to be reported" to authorities.

Meanwhile, on the streets of Khartoum, the protests continue. Hundreds of thousands joined a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry compound that also houses the presidential palace over the weekend. Despite Mr Al Bashir being removed from office and the military accepting several key demands, many do not want the transition to be led by the military. Instead, protesters are calling for civilian rule.

A senior figure from the SPA said that the group will hold a media conference on Sunday to announce candidates to be put forward for a civilian council, but said that their proposition accepts some military participation in the body. Those nominated would be mostly technocrats, said the official who declined to be named.

Updated: April 23, 2019 04:11 AM

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