Morocco King expected in Senegal By TAMBA JEAN-MATTHEW in Dakar | Friday, March 15 2013 at 19:19
Morocco’s King Mohamed VI arrives in Dakar Friday evening on a two-day official visit.
The Moroccan leader's visit comes amidst two difficult issues that President Macky Sall will certainly be discussing with his guest.
The first concerns a call by Senegal leading rights group for the King to intervene in extraditing a former Senegalese parliamentarian home rather than to Saudi Arabia.
Former lawmaker Alikaly Cissé is being held in Morocco while awaiting extradition to Saudi Arabia where he is wanted for swindling nearly $2 million from a Saudi businessman.
The act took place nearly five years ago, but Mr Cissé was tried in Senegal and found not guilty and released by the former government of President Abdoulaye Wade.
Not convinced of the judgement, the Saudi government tried the former lawmaker in absentia and found him guilty and could face capital punishment.
The Saudi government subsequently floated an international warrant of arrest against Mr Cisse, who was nabbed by Moroccan government, which has an extradition treaty with the Saudi kingdom.
The Moroccan government has been withholding Mr Cissé for two months now, ostensibly due to diplomatic pressure from Senegal, which intends to forestall his execution.
One of Mr Cissé's sons is also facing jail terms in Senegal for financial crimes.
The second of the issues on the agenda of the two heads of state is Dakar’s ongoing hunt against ill-gotten wealth, especially involving former President Wade’s son, Karim.
Karim is being roped in as the ringleader of over a dozen other former senior government officials accused of allegedly swindling over $2 billion of state funds.
The Moroccan King’s visit coincides with a major cross examination of Karim, who is widely known to be a close friend of the former.
Over the last 10 years, the King whose maternal grand parents hails from Senegal, has visited the country five times.
But it was unlikely that President Sall would yield to any pressure from the King to exonerate Karim from the charges of ill-gotten wealth.
The last of the Kings five visits to Senegal took place in 2006 when President Sall was Prime Minister.
Morocco is the only country in north Africa that exempts Senegalese nationals from obtaining entry visas and vice-versa.
Senegal is one of the countries that align with Morocco on the Western Sahara issue.
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