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Ex-minister quizzed in Senegal graft probe

Dakar - Senegal's former interior minister has been detained and questioned over corruption allegations, three officials said, as the country's new administration deepens investigations into cash believed to have been stolen under the previous government.

Ousmane Ngom is the latest in a line of senior officials under former President Abdoulaye Wade to be questioned by authorities over alleged corruption since Macky Sall defeated Wade in an election this year.

Senegal's new president, Macky Sall. Credit: REUTERS

“He was brought back to Dakar to answer a summons to be heard by the prosecutor,” a source in the Justice Ministry, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

Two other officials confirmed the detention, saying he had been held on Wednesday while campaigning in the south of the country for parliamentary polls due on July 1.

Wade was largely praised for developing infrastructure in the West African state but critics say his stint in power was undermined by mismanagement and high-level corruption.

Sall campaigned on an anti-corruption ticket and has revived a government anti-corruption body that had been dormant for years.

Other senior officials already summoned for questioning over so-called “illicit enrichment” during Wade's rule include the president of the senate, former head of the troubled state power company and several ministers.

Local media have reported that Karim Wade, the former president's son who headed several powerful ministries during his father's rule, will join the list of those summoned.

Wade, the father, has been vocal in defending his son and said while he accepts the idea of an audit, he believes a witch hunt is being carried out.

The octogenarian Wade has also threatened to disrupt parliamentary elections if a fleet of vehicles seized by the new authorities but claimed by him are not released.

Ngom has been quoted in local media saying senior officials from Wade's time in power should refuse orders for questioning during the lead up to legislative polls. - Reuters

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