Deputies in the Senegalese parliament passed a law on Thursday evening to abolish a special anti-corruption court. According to the government, this has “failed to curb economic and financial crime”.
Senegalese lawmakers passed a law on Thursday (July 20th) abolishing a special anti-corruption court, which the government says has not “helped curb economic and financial crime” and was denounced by opponents as a court set up to “repress” them.
The Court for the Suppression of Illicit Enrichment (Crei) will be replaced by a Financial Judicial Pool (PJF), including in particular a “specially competent” prosecutor’s office for financial crimes and consisting of specialized judges. The bill was approved by more than 120 deputies out of the 165 in the national assembly.
The Minister of Justice, Ismaïla Madior Fall, welcomed “jurisdictional progress” with the PJF, a new unit that “modernizes” the fight against economic crime, which “has become more complex”, from which, according to him, “difficulties” encountered by Crei due to a lack of “human resources, funds and specialized judges”. The new law must be promulgated by the head of state.
Almost all the MPs who spoke were delighted with the abolition of Crei. Those in the opposition have criticized a court that dispensed “political justice” and was used to “suppress opponents”, which the authorities deny.
Parliamentarians returned at length to the cases of two opposition figures, Karim Wade and Khalifa Sall, prevented from participating in the 2019 presidential election due to judgments by Crei.
Karim Wade, son of ex-president Abdoulaye Wade (2000 to 2012), was sentenced in 2015 to six years in prison for illegal enrichment. A former minister under his father’s regime, he was pardoned in 2016 by President Macky Sall and has since been exiled to Qatar.
Khalifa Sall, mayor of Dakar since 2009, was found guilty of embezzling around 2.5 million euros from municipal coffers and sentenced to five years in prison in 2018. He was jailed in 2017 and then recalled, regaining his freedom in 2019, also thanks to a presidential pardon.
President Macky Sall, who was re-elected in 2012 for five years and re-elected in 2019 for seven years, declared in early July that he was not a candidate for the presidency in 2024. He also announced an upcoming seizure of the National Assembly for electoral reforms so that Karim Wade and Khalifa can run for the presidency 40 S20.
Crei was established by former President Abdou Diouf (1981-2000) in 1981. It remained dormant for many years before being reactivated by President Macky Sall when he came to power in 2012.
The court has been criticized by human rights campaigners, who in particular blamed it for the impossibility of appealing its decisions.