Last Thursday, we reported that the 75-year-old president – or dictator, according to some – of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir stepped down after ruling the country for 30 years after a lighting fast military coup d’état, which involved very little gunfire or violence. And while as so often happens in Africa – and the rest of the world – after a dictator is toppled, investigations into corruption immediately started, this time they struck gold – both figuratively and literally – almost immediately.
According to Sky News, after investigators launched a probe for money laundering into ousted president Omar al Bashir’s regime, they found large sums of foreign currency at his home. Specifically, military intelligence found cash worth 6 million euros stuffed in suitcases, as well as 351,000 US dollars. They also uncovered five million Sudanese pounds (£80,000).
A judicial source told Reuters that “the chief public prosecutor… ordered the [former] president detained and quickly questioned in preparation to put him on trial.”
Bashir, who was toppled on April 11 in a military coup following months of protests against his 30-year rule, is currently held inside the high-security Kobar prison in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. He was detained at a presidential residence prior to being put behind bars.
The reason why Bashir was hoping to flee the country, cash patiently waiting in suitcases, is that he is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity, murder, extermination, torture and rape – among other crimes – in the Darfur region in the 2000s. Once the 75-year-old president is convicted, he will almost certainly spend the rest of his life behind bars.
An estimated 300,000 people died during a military campaign to end an insurgency there over a decade ago. As Sky notes, During his decades in power, Bashir often played up his humble beginnings as the child of a poor farming family in a remote village.
Meanwhile, despite the ouster of al Bashir, protests across Sudan have continued.