‘Suitcases loaded with cash’: Sudan’s ousted Bashir faces corruption trial

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On Thursday, an unnamed official quoted by the official SUNA news agency said Bashir was facing charges including “possessing foreign funds, acquiring suspected and illegal wealth, and ordering the (state of) emergency”.

In April, Sudan’s army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said more than US$113 million worth of cash in three currencies had been seized from Bashir’s residence.

He said a team of police, army and security agents found €7 million (US$7.8 million), US$350,000 and five billion Sudanese pounds (US$105 million).

When he imposed the state of emergency on February 22 in a bid to quell protests that erupted in December, Bashir issued a decree making it illegal to possess more than US$5,000 in foreign currency.

Bashir, who was toppled on April 11 following months of protests and is currently being held in the capital’s Kober prison, swept to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989.

General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, top right, the deputy head of the military council that assumed power in Sudan after the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir. Photo: AP

General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, top right, the deputy head of the military council that assumed power in Sudan after the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir. Photo: AP

Sudan suffered high rates of corruption during his rule, ranking 172 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index.

Last month, Ahmed ordered Bashir questioned over money-laundering and “financing terrorism”.

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In May, the prosecutor general said Bashir had been charged over the killings of protesters during the anti-regime demonstrations, which eventually led to his ouster.

Ahmed also said on Saturday that other “symbols of the ousted regime” were under investigation.

He did not name the others accused but said most of the charges were over the “possession of land”.

Protests against Bashir’s rule initially erupted on December 19 after his then government tripled the price of bread.

He was ousted by the army after thousands of demonstrators launched a sit-in outside military headquarters in central Khartoum from April 6.

But army generals have resisted protesters’ demands to hand power to a civilian administration.

The protesters kept up their sit-in even as their leaders held several rounds of talks with the generals on installing civilian rule.

But talks broke down in May over who would lead a new overall governing body – a civilian or soldier.

And on June 3, armed men in military fatigues launched a crackdown on demonstrators camped outside the army complex that left dozens of people dead and hundreds wounded.

Protesters and witnesses accuse a feared paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), of carrying out the assault on demonstrators.

Doctors linked to the protest movement say about 120 people have been killed in Khartoum since the crackdown, while the health ministry says 61 people died nationwide on June 3.

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