Former Sudan president, Omar al-Bashir, has been charged by court for corruption, illegal acquisition and use of foreign funds, and he is staring at receiving a lengthy jail term.
The presiding judge, Al-Sadiq Abdelrahman, said at the third session of Bashir’s trial that foreign funds of multiple currencies were found at his home. “Authorities seized 6.9 million euros, $351,770 and 5.7 million Sudanese pounds at Bashir’s home which he acquired and used illegally,” the judge said.
Bashir, wearing a traditional white gown and headdress and seated in a metal cage, admitted to receiving the equivalent of $25 million from Saudi royals. “My office manager received a call from the office of Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman saying he has a ‘message’ that will be sent on a private jet,” Bashir said during the trial. “We were told that the crown prince did not want his name to appear and if the funds were deposited with Sudan’s bank or the finance ministry, the source would have to be identified,” he said.
The former president, 75, also said that the funds were not used for his own private interest but as donations. The judge said illegal acquisition of wealth was punishable by up to 10 years in jail, while illicit use of foreign funds carried up to three years. Hashem Abu Bakr, Bashir’s lawyer, however said that his client was not guilty and that witnesses would be brought to court. The trial was adjourned until September 7.
Bashir was ousted in April after mass protests against his three-decade rule rocked Sudan for months. Sudan has since embarked on a transition to civilian rule following a power-sharing deal signed on August 17 by protest leaders and the generals who ousted Bashir.
Protesters have called for Bashir to face justice not just over corruption but for his role in the country’s deadly conflicts. The former Sudanese leader is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague over his role in mass killings in Darfur.