His Excellency Macky Sall, President of Senegal
An inquiry into how Senegal’s energy contracts were allocated has been launched by the country’s Ministry of Justice. The inquiry follows a report by the BBC alleging that the president’s brother was implicated in a suspicious energy deal linked to gas fields off the country’s coast.
President Macky Sall has said that he’s keen for the truth to be ‘re-established’ suggesting that the reports are an attempt to ‘destabilize’ the country and oust the incumbent government.
The allegations have energized Sall’s administration, especially as the president originally came to power vowing to root out corruption. With the scandal landing so close to home, it will be a watershed moment for the Senegalese government’s efforts to boost the powers of the judiciary.
The accusations of corruption date back to the early 2010s, when a company with no track record in the industry was awarded a license to explore two blocks by then-president Abdoulaye Wade. The decision sparked protests, prompting newly elected president Macky Sall to approve an urgent investigation.
However, cancelling the contract would have been illegal and could have seen Senegal dragged before international tribunals. As a result, the contract was subsequently ratified, and the exploration rights passed to the Timis Corporation operated by Frank Timis, who has been in the spotlight in the mining industry for his business practices.
BBC Panorama and Africa Eye are claiming to have evidence showing that Aliou Sall was employed by the Timis Corp. from 2012 and that he received a ‘secret bonus’ of £250,000 via his company, Agritrans, in 2014. Aliou Sall has denied receiving any such payment and has labelled the BBC’s report ‘totally false’.
The BBC investigation also showed that a schedule of ‘royalty payments’ worth between $9 billion and $12 billion is due to be funneled to the Timis Corp. over the next four decades, which brought BP into the investigative mix.
Geraud Moussarie, head of BP in Senegal, has downplayed the reported royalty figure as ‘so fake and exaggerated that it is complete fantasy’ and has dismissed the suggestion that Senegal is being cheated out of its revenues. Experts have also agreed with this statement, arguing that it’s unlikely for oil companies to pay royalties to other companies.
President Sall’s anti-corruption record so far has been promising with a substantial amount of progress being made in the years since he first came into office.
Since Sall came into office the country was featured this year by Transparency International as among the top improvers. Overall, the country has jumped 27 slots in the global ranking, to 67th in 2018 from 94th in 2012, the year Sall was elected.