Tag Archives: justice

Sudan: Bashir family property confiscated

In Sudan capital Khartoum several large plots of land and residential properties will be confiscated from family members, relatives, and some close friends of ousted President Omar al-Bashir after investigation established they were acquired largely due to family connections, anti-corruption committee announced on May 7.

The Empowerment Removal Committee said it confiscated property from Bashir’s brother-in-law, nieces, nephews, and a former Defence minister, who was a close ally of al-Bashir. It transferred the ownership of the propterites, which totalled around 92,000 square meters in size to the finance ministry with new status of natonalised public property.

Separately, it also dissolved the boards of the Khartoum International Airport Company and the Sudan Airports Holding Company over a range of accusations, mainly corruption.

The committee was charged by the attorney general with dismantling the system built by long-term ruler Bashir authority after his ouster in April last year. It is in charge of investigations into crimes involving public funds and corruption by the former president and members of his extended family and allies.

Bashir, who has been jailed in Khartoum since he was toppled following mass protests after his 30-year authoritarian rule, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region.

A Sudanese court handed Bashir a first, two-year sentence in December on corruption charges. He also faces trials and investigations over the killing of protesters and his role in the 1989 coup that brought him to power.

Soro extradition unlikely

Cote d’Ivoire Guillaume Soro (47), the presidential candidate, has been convicted in absentia of embezzlement and money laundering. Soro was once an ally of incumbent President Alessane Ouattara. He commanded a rebel force which backed Quattara in his struggle against President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to accept the results of 2010 elections.

Soro, who has been a rebel leader and Prime minister, was accused of buying a house with public money, the allegations he vehemently denied, while his lawyers boycotted the trial, announcing it politically motivated, paving the way to exclude him from October’s election.

Soro’s property in Abidjan, was confiscated and he was also barred from civic duties for five years. Soro was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, 4.5 billion FCFA (6.8 million euros) in fines, the confiscation” of his house, deprivation of his civil rights, and ordered to pay 2 billion FCFA (3 million euros) in damages to the state of Côte d’Ivoire.

The verdict was announced after a trial that lasted only a few hours. Soro was not present as he lives in exile in France.

President Alassane Ouattara “who today wears dictator’s clothes with great ease, submits justice to his boot and orders political killings against his rivals in order to exclude them from the electoral competition, embodies the worst version of the African leader,” he said.

“He quickly forgot that the justice system he is manipulating today is the same one that decreed him ineligible a few years ago (…) The rest we all know: he became president,” he added.

However the extradition of Soro is not obvious, because of poor Human rights record of Cote d’Ivoire, which i major factor taken into consideration by the French justice while considering extradition requests.

COVID19: Nigeria prisons relief

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the chief judge to free prisoners who have been awaiting trial for six years or more for relief of the overcrowded cells as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, a spokesman said on April 21.

A statement quoted Buhari as saying 42% of 74,000 prisoners were awaiting trial. The President urged Chief Judge Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad to reduce that number “since physical distancing and self-isolation in such conditions are practically impossible”.

Buhari said inmates with no confirmed criminal cases against them, elderly prisoners and those who were terminally ill could be discharged.

Most of these custodial centres are presently housing inmates beyond their capacities and the overcrowded facilities pose a potent threat to the health of the inmates and the public in general in view of the present circumstances, hence the need for urgent steps to bring the situation under control,” Buhari said.

Two weeks ago, the President pardoned 2,600 prisoners who were either 60 or older, terminally ill, or had less than six months left to serve of sentences of three years or more.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, with some 200 million people. On April 20 it said it had registered 665 cases of the coronavirus and 22 related deaths.

Its measures to stop the spread of the virus include closing its borders and locking down the capital Abuja, the commercial hub, Lagos, and the adjacent state, Ogu

Zuma arrest warrant issued

A South African court has issued an arrest warrant for the former president Jacob Zuma after he failed to appear at hearing on the grounds of a medical treatment.

Zuma’s lawyer, Daniel Mantsha, presented a document from a “military hospital” to excuse his client absence, but the judge questioned whether the note was valid or even written by a doctor. Prosecutors said it was a criminal offence not to fully explain an absence on medical grounds. Jacob Zuma face charges in a corruption case that he has been avoiding for months, most recently by referring to health issues, preventing him to stand a trial.

“Zuma’s absence is disappointing … we want Mr Mantsha to tell us what the illness is and why Zuma can’t be here. It is a criminal offence for the accused not to be present if he has been warned in court,” said Billy Downer, representing South African the state.

According to former President lawyers, he had two operations in early January before going abroad. However the judge questioned the authenticity of a letter from a “military hospital” in the administrative capital, Pretoria, explaining Mr. Zuma’s absence.

Sudan’s Bashir on trial soon

Sudan’s chief prosecutor announced that ousted President Omar al-Bashir would be sent for trial soon on corruption charges related to his three decades in power.

Alwaleed Sayed Ahmed Mahmoud declared at news conference the trial referral would be made after a one-week period for objections expires, adding that criminal cases have been opened against 41 other former officials accused of graft.

Charged with corruption after an investigation was completed, as the prosecutor’s office underlined, Bashir, was ousted by the military in April this year following months of protests against his three decades autocratic rule.