Senegal's Wade sues French lawyer over wealth interview

Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade. FILE | AFRICA REVIEW 

President Abdoulaye Wade has sued lawyer William Bourdon over an interview he gave to the French press over wealth owned by the Senegalese leader.

In the interview with Le Parisien last week, Mr Bourdon declared that the “French legal procedure on illegal wealth could be extended to the Senegalese President”.

President Wade’s complaint with a court in Dakar also extends to the French newspaper, a statement from the presidency said Wednesday.

“Due to Counsellor Bourdon’s defamatory statement, President Wade had requested his French lawyers in the persons of Jean-René Farthouat and Counsellor Rasseck Bourgi to come over to Dakar and submit the complaint,'' the statement further said.

The other members of President Wade’s defence team include prominent Senegalese lawyer François Sarr.

The presidential spokesman, Mr Mbacké Ndiaye, said the situation was made worse by the string of publications of the allegation by local media "during this critical campaign period''.

"This issue was intentional because the accusers had selected this very sensitive moment to besmear the reputation of the President, and thereby affecting his campaign for the presidency,” Mr Ndiaye insisted.

He recalled that President Wade had publicly declared in 2009 that he only possessed a small apartment in France, that was located on a 41 square meters of land in Paris.

President Wade explained that he had acquired the property nearly 28 years ago while he was still in the opposition.

Similarly, President Wade’s son, Karim, who was also mentioned in the interview, has already submitted a complaint against Mr Bourdon for defamation.

Mr Bourdon is one of the lawyers helping to trace illegal wealth allegedly obtained by the presidents of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and the late Omar Bongo of Gabon, on behalf of the citizens of those countries.

It can be recalled that a similar allegation was made by a former pointman of the French Government, Mr Albert Bourgi, but who subsequently retracted his allegation and wrote a letter of apology to President Wade.

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