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Ex-Sudan president admits receiving millions from Saudis, court hears

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Source: Reuters- Sudan’s ousted president Omar Hassan al-Bashir acknowledged receiving millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, a police detective told a court on Monday at the start of a corruption trial that many Sudanese thought they would never see.

Bashir listened to the testimony without comment, sitting in a metal cage and wearing traditional white robes and a turban in his first appearance in a Khartoum courtroom.

He is charged with illicit possession of foreign currency and accepting gifts in an unofficial manner. Bashir’s lawyer dismissed the accusations, telling reporters after the hearing it was usual for leaders to hold amounts of foreign currency.

The veteran leader spoke to confirm his name and age. When asked about his residence, Bashir laughed and said: “formerly the airport district, at army headquarters but now Kobar prison,” referring to the detention complex where he sent thousands of opponents during his rule.

The Saudi government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the testimony.

Bashir weathered multiple rebellions, economic crises, U.S. sanctions and coup attempts until he was overthrown by the military in April after mass protests against his 30-year rule.

His trial will seen as a test of how serious authorities are about trying to erase the legacy of a rule marked by widespread violence, wars, economic collapse and the secession of South Sudan.

The 75-year-old, who seized power in a coup in 1989, arrived at the courthouse in a convoy with military and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces soldiers.

Family members shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is the Greatest) and he raised his hand in greeting from the courtroom cage.

A small number of family members were permitted inside the cage after the session ended to speak with him. The next hearing was scheduled for Saturday.

SAUDI MONEY

Police Brigadier General Ahmed Ali Mohamed, a detective in the team investigating Bashir, testified that Bashir told them he had received $25 million from Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, known as MbS.

The detective cited Bashir as saying MbS gave him the money for spending outside the Sudanese state budget and that it was spent on donations, without going into further details on who received it.

Sums of $351,000, more than 6 million Euros and 5 million Sudanese pounds were found at Bashir’s home when he was arrested, a judicial source said at the time.

Mohamed said Bashir also told investigators he received $65 million dollars, in two separate payments, from former Saudi King Abdullah.

Bashir’s lawyer Ahmed Ibrahim told reporters: “There is no information or evidence with regards to the accusations of illicit gains aimed at Bashir.

“Anyone in his occupation [has] to have foreign currency and it was in a room attached to his office in his presidential residence,” he added.

Bashir was also charged in May with incitement and involvement in the killing of protesters, and prosecutors also want him questioned over suspected money laundering and terrorism financing.

Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of masterminding genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region.

On Saturday, Sudan’s ruling military council, which took over after Bashir’s ouster, signed a power-sharing agreement with the main opposition coalition, paving the way for a transitional government and eventual elections.

The pact sets up a sovereign council as the highest authority in the country, but largely delegates executive powers to the cabinet of ministers.

The sovereign council was due to be sworn in on Monday. But the spokesman for the Transitional Military Council, Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi, said the formation of the new ruling body would be delayed by 48 hours on the request of the opposition coalition.

24 Hours Across Africa

Liverpool maintain perfect start after beating Chelsea

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Alexander Arnold’s 15th minutes thounderous strike and Firmino effort at Stamford bridge earn Liverpool five points lead over Manchester city.

Liverpool are the first team to win their opening six Premier League games in successive seasons.

After an intensed play, Chelsea have a goal rule out over Var decision, on 71th minutes Ngolo konte score a hard fought goal.

Liverpool fans has loud Adrian over his resilience performance after saving chances from Tammy Abraham, Michy Batshuayi and Mason Mount.

 

 

 

 

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24 Hours Across Africa

Facebook suspends thousands of apps in response to Cambridge Analytica row

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Facebook Inc said, it has suspended tens of thousands of apps on the social networking platform, as part of the company’s ongoing app developer investigation it began in March 2018 in response to the Cambridge Analytica row.

The suspended apps are associated with about 400 developers, Facebook said, adding that it is not necessarily an indication that these apps were posing a threat to users.

Earlier this year, the company agreed to pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to resolve a government probe into its privacy practices.

The FTC privacy probe was triggered last year by allegations that Facebook violated a 2012 consent decree and inappropriately shared information of 87 million users with British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook has since agreed to boost safeguards on user data and has put curbs on the amount of information that third-party developers can request from platform users.

“… We’re making progress. We won’t catch everything, and some of what we do catch will be with help from others outside Facebook,” the company said in a blogpost.

Source: Reuters

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