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Nigeria, South Africa At War Over Seized $9.3 Million Cash


360News

September 19,  2014

Detectives in South Africa have rejected Nigerian government’s explanations of the purpose of the $9.3 million cash seized from two Nigerians and an Israeli as “flawed and riddled with discrepancies”.

The suspects told South African authorities that the money was meant for the procurement of arms for Nigerian intelligence agencies.

“… Although various explanations about the money were given to the investigating officer, these explanations were flawed and riddled with discrepancies,” the South African prosecution agency said in a statement sent to this newspaper.

The jet used to ferry the money is owned by Ayo Oritsejafor, who heads the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN.
Mr. Oritsejafor, a cleric, said he is not aware of the arms deal. He said although he owns the aircraft, it was managed by another company, Eagle Air Company, which in turn, leased the jet to a third party, Green Coast Produce Limited.

The Nigerian government in an unsigned statement, Tuesday, said it has provided South African authorities with documents and receipts to prove that the transaction was “legitimate.”

Nigerian security officials also said that it was normal practice to procure arms with cash.

“The Federal Government has submitted relevant data and documents on the transaction to South Africa and insisted that the transaction was legitimate. It also clarified that the funds were not laundered or smuggled for any covert manoeuvres. No launderer will be audacious to fly into a country in a chartered jet with such a huge cash,” a statement by PRNigeria, an agency that regularly disseminates media statements for the military, police and other security agencies in Nigeria explained.

The statement tallies with what top security officials told PREMIUM TIMES in confidence that the money was legit as the government decided to buy the arms secretly; because the U.S. government had allegedly blocked its efforts to buy arms openly.

However, the government’s explanation does not seem to be gaining traction with South African investigators as the Asset Forfeiture Unit, AFU, of the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa, NPA, has obtained a court order to freeze the money.

The NPA, in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday said that the manner in which the money was brought into the country breached the country’s laws that deal with the transfer of foreign exchange of such proportion.

“The money was initially detained by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) as it was not disclosed or declared at customs, and was above the prescribed legal limit for the amount of cash that may be brought into the country,” it said in a statement.

Investigators also cast serious doubt on the Nigerian government’s explanation that the money was meant for the procurement of arms and that it has provided documents and receipt to back its legitimacy, raising serious concern that suspects might have been in the process of laundering the money before it was intercepted.

The NPA said its investigation shows that Tier One Services Group, the firm Nigerian government claimed it wanted to procure the arms from, is not authorised to sell or rent military hardware.

“In court papers, the NPA submitted evidence that Tier One is not registered with the National Conventional Arms Control Committee and is thus not authorised to enter into any agreements regarding the sale and/or rental of military equipment,” the statement read.

Tier One has apparently issued an invoice to a Cyprus based company, ESD International Group Ltd, ESD, in respect of the procurement of armaments and helicopters to be delivered to Nigeria. However, South African investigators said the time when the invoice was prepared and the time the money was brought in threw up some serious issues of its true intent.

The money was ferried to South Africa less than a week from the date the invoice was prepared (September 8, 2014).
The involvement of a Cyprus based company also heightens the suspicion that this may be a case of classical money laundering. Cyprus is notorious for its secretive banking system, which attracts shady characters and corrupt politicians looking to dry-clean ill-gotten funds.

The NPA added that the transaction did not follow normal procedure in the procurement of the kind of equipment it was alleged to have been meant for.

Nigeria: Experts Pick Holes in Procurement Process


This Day

By James Emejo

 Say absence of  governing council violates enabling act.

Renewed controversies have trailed the continued existence of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) without the proposed National Council on Public Procurement (NCPP) which ought to endorse the former’s activities as provided by the Public Procurement Act 2007.

Prof. Paul Idornigie of the Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies told THISDAY that one of the objectives of the BPP in ensuring probity, accountability and transparency in the procurement process is in doubt because the NCPP is yet to be established as required by the Act which also gave life to the Bureau.

Speaking on new issues of transparency and access to information in the public and private sectors at a one-day seminar themed: “Emerging Issues on Good Governance in Nigeria” which was organised by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administration of Nigeria (ICSAN) Abuja Chapter, he also carpeted the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for allegedly usurping the function of the NCPP by approving and awarding contracts at its weekly meetings.

He said the BPP could not be said to be observing good governance in its operations when the NCPP which is supposed to vet its activities is yet to be created as prescribed by law.

He further chided members of the National Assembly for being pre-occupied with frivolous oversight functions and not ensuring that laws passed are actually implemented to the letter.

The professor said:”I am actually worried about the effect on contracts being awarded by the Federal Executive Council on this issue. I won’t use the word illegal; all I’m saying is that the National Assembly members are here: if they believe that they don’t need the National Council on Procurement, they should amend the law. But we cannot have a law that provides for NCPP and since 2007, the council has not been established.”

He said:”I have a challenge with the public procurement act when talking about transparency; this was a law passed to ensure transparency and accountability. Now this law was passed in 2007 but as we speak, we’ve not had a National Council on Public Procurement and yet, we have the Bureau of Public Procurement which ought to take directives from the Council.

“All the thresholds being observed in the ministries, departments and agencies of government are determined by the BPP but the Bureau needs the approval of the National Council on Privatisation to do this.
“How do you run a system where the law provides that there should be a council and all we see every Wednesday is that the work that ought to be done by this council is being taken by the Federal Executive Council. Is that transparency?”

According to Idornigie:”If the government feels we don’t need the National Council on Public Procurement, let them amend the law to provide that it is the FEC that would play this role. One of the objectives of the BPP is to ensure probity, accountability and transparency in the procurement process. Now how can BPP do this when it has no council?”

He added that though the governing council for public procurement had not been set up, yet the BPP had been issuing financial thresholds, stressing that “the whole public procurement act made no reference to the FEC and yet, it is the FEC that approves matters which ought to be approved by the National Council on Public Procurement.”

In the same vein, Chairman, ICSAN, Abuja Chapter, Mrs. Stella Anukam, said there were several laws which had been enacted by the National Assembly but yet to be implemented.
She said:”When it comes to implementation, you would be shocked. The public procurement act is one and if the major body set up to ensure the implementation of that act since 2007 is yet to be in place I think we should begin to worry.”

Anukam, however, said ICSAN would convey the summit resolutions on issues raised to relevant authorities and press for concrete action.

Meanwhile, speaking while declaring the seminar open, Minister for Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, warned of severe consequence in neglecting good governance which he described as necessary for redeeming the country’s battered image.

He blamed the absence of good governance on the incessant political instability witnessed in the polity especially during the military regime.

Maku said the way to go was for citizens and leader to take responsibility for their actions as well as reappraise societal values.

He said everybody must be disciplined to respect rules adding that “the cutting corners syndrome is like Ebola virus” which does no good to anybody.
He added that serious people were needed in government to ensure things are done the right way.

Namibia: Procurement Bill Sparks Heated Debate


AllAfrica.com

By Tonateni Shidhudhu

October 3rd, 2013

Windhoek — The Public Procurement Bill that is currently being debated in the National Assembly is likely to be rejected, following strong criticism by several MPs on both sides of the house.

Debate resumed on Tuesday on the proposed law. Lawmakers are unhappy with the way the Bill was drafted, arguing that the role of government and that of new institutions to be created under the proposed law is not clear, and that the Bill has the potential to disadvantage businesses that are run by black Namibians. The debate was delayed last week, when lawmakers requested a workshop on the Bill to get a clear understanding of what the proposed legislation entails.

Swapo Party MP Kazenambo Kazenambo criticized the Bill calling on the Finance Minister

Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila to refer it back to the drafters. “I don’t see how the Ministry of Finance as an entity and other ministries are involved in the procurement system. I don’t understand the role of the Procurement Policy Office, there are so many offices and it is not clear who is supervising who, [since] the functions and powers of these offices are overlapping,” he said.

Kazenambo wants the finance minister to clarify the role of the institutions that are provided for in the Bill and how they differ from one another and also questioned the status of the Central Procurement Board and whether it is going to function as a parastatal or under which category of governance it would be placed.

If the Bill is passed, it will create a Central Procurement Board (CPB) to replace the current Tender Board that has had its fair share of controversy over the years. Kazenambo also queried why CPB members are given unlimited powers, especially that of extracting information about anyone bidding for a public tender, including their financial records. “I am seeing scandals coming, we live in this country as business [people], we are subjected to harassment and discrimination and sometimes just because you are black, people question from where you got the money,” he said. In terms of the Bill the Procurement Policy Office wil have the responsibility of advising the minister on policies, guidelines, standards and manuals required to maintain an internationally competitive public procurement system in Namibia. The office will also be responsible for recommending thresholds, disqualifying, debarring and suspending suppliers and conducting investigations where necessary.

This, according to Kazenambo, if not handled properly, has the potential to discriminate against locally manufactured products, especially those from businesses that are run by black Namibians. He made it clear that he is not in support of the current format of the Bill and walked out of parliament following his contribution, returning only later.

Swapo Party Chief Whip Professor Peter Katjavivi said while the Bill appears to be a tool of empowerment for disadvantaged communities, particularly women and young people, there are still issues that need to be clarified or rectified. He warned against the bureaucratic delays that may occur due to the various structures provided for under the proposed law. “The multiplicity of entities within the Bill creates a worry over bureaucratic delays. If you have the Procurement Policy Office, the Central Procurement Board, the Procurement Committee, the Procurement Management Units and Bid Evaluation Committee, probably we do not need the bid evaluation committees, because procurement committees can as well evaluate bids,” argued Katjavivi.

Lawmakers also feel that not enough public consultation took place with stakeholders to enable them to provide their inputs. Swanu president Usutuaije Maamberua said although a few meetings were held during the drafting of the Bill, there is a need for broader consultation. He was also dissatisfied that the Bill aims to provide preferential treatment to bidders from the previously disadvantaged communities only, saying 23 years after independence the nation should move on and look at the burning social question of poverty based on a broader perspective. He said it is a pity that there appears to be class discrimination in Namibia in terms of the manner in which the economy is structured, which also needs to be addressed in the Bill. “What about a poor white person, if they fall under the lower class? I am proposing that we should not only look at the previously disadvantaged communities, but all people in the lower income categories irrespective of colour.”

Maamberua who is the chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts is also a former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance. He questioned why the Bill is silent on the disposal of government assets, which is a function of the Tender Board. “The [proposed] Board (Central Procurement Board) does not have that function, which is a serious omission,” he observed and further pointed out that the Bill appears to be repealing only the current Tender Board Act 16 of 1996, but not other related Acts such as the Regional Councils Act, which also deals with public procurement.”

Presidential Affairs Minister Dr Albert Kawana adjourned the debate to next week Tuesday. Kawana is expected to offer guidance to parliament on the way forward on the contentious Bill. If the National Assembly is still divided, MPs will have to vote on whether to accept the Bill as it is or to reject it and to send it back to the finance ministry for amendment.

South Africa: Mbeki, Manuel to give evidence in arms probe


The Citizen

July 16th, SAPA

Former president Thabo Mbeki will testify as a witness in the first phase of the Arms Procurement Commission, it was announced.

The commission, which is probing the R70 billion arms procurement deal, will hold public hearings from August 5 until January 31, subject to President Jacob Zuma granting an extension beyond November, spokesman William Baloyi said in a statement on Monday.

Mbeki and Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel were set to testify in the second half of January.

Baloyi said the first phase of the commission would “deal with the rationale for the Strategic Defence Procurement Package”, and whether the arms and equipment acquired were under-utilised or not utilised at all.

The first witnesses would be navy and air force officials. Armscor witnesses would be named later.

Former Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils and Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota would be called as witnesses between September 30 and October 4, followed by department of trade and industry officials until November 11.

Former Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin was expected to testify for three days in November, followed by National Treasury officials until the end of that month.

“It is also important to note that the programme is not cast in stone and circumstances prevailing at the hearings may require that it be adapted or altered, and this may also effect the sequence of witnesses,” Baloyi said.

“Some of the witnesses may be recalled at a later stage, when the commission deals with the terms of reference relating to allegations of impropriety, fraud and corruption in the acquisition process, a phase in which the ‘whistleblowers’ and those who are implicated will feature.”

The commission would be held in the council chambers of the Sammy Marks Conference Centre in Pretoria.

The deal, which was initially estimated to cost R43 million, has dogged South Africa’s politics since it was signed in 1999, after then Pan Africanist Congress MP Patricia de Lille raised allegations of corruption in Parliament.

Zuma himself was once charged with corruption after his financial adviser Schabir Shaik, who had a tender to supply part of the requirements, was found to have facilitated a bribe for him from a French arms company.

The charges against Zuma were later dropped.

All South Africa construction majors ‘involved’ in collusion, price-fixing – Patel


Engineering News

By: Natalie Greve

11th April 2013

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel has said that all the major South African civil engineering and construction companies currently active in the sector have been involved in infrastructure-related collusion and price-fixing.

“This problem is huge and pervasive in the infrastructure space,” he said at the inaugural Project and Construction Management Professions Conference on Thursday.

The State reportedly lost billions of rands through large-scale collusion and price-fixing by private sector companies during several past infrastructure projects, which instigated investigations by the Competition Commission into several completed public build projects.

These enquiries, which included investigations into the Gautrain project and several stadium developments, uncovered substantial evidence of collusion and price fixing by private sector participants, the Minister noted.

In cases involving critical projects, a number of companies came forward to acknowledge their involvement in the unlawful practises, Patel added.

“We have received about 400 admissions of incidents of collusion by companies in the sector,” he commented.

South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP) president Professor Raymond Nkado said he was “shocked” that registered members of the SACPCMP had been found to have been involved.

“As a council, we have decided that we might take additional disciplinary action against these [companies],” he said.

Fast-Track Process
Based on the evidence gleaned from the commission’s investigations, which indicated the pervasiveness of the involvement by private companies, it was decided to introduce a “fast-track settlement process”, which would avoid lengthy legal processes that could persist for up to eight years, and which Patel said could potentially distract the project management process.

“We approached the industry and said we were prepared to put a voluntary disclosure process on the table, which would bring this to a conclusion expeditiously. In return, what is required is full disclosure, a commitment to end the cartels and an acceptance that the law must take its course,” he explained.

Once the disclosure process had been completed and admission of guilt received, the commission would then determine appropriate fines or penalties related to the value of the project.

Several such processes between the Competition Commission and private companies were currently under way, with most in the final stages, where the extent of the penalty was being determined in cases where organisations were “improperly enriched”.

Patel added that the first company to come forward and admit collusion would receive preferential treatment in terms of the penalty levied.

“We also take into account the extent of cooperation, so that there is an incentive to come clean. However, these companies will still have to pay substantial penalties as prescribed by the Competition Act,” he cautioned.

In cases where investigations implicated public servants, this information would be referred to law enforcement agencies.

There would be public disclosure once settlements had been reached.

Incentivisation

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi added that the findings of the investigation challenged the common perception that corruption and malgovernance was only pervasive in the public sector.

“The opinion that only government has such problems has been proved incorrect. There are huge problems in the private sector and we must expose them,” he said, encouraging the private sector to engage in “self reflection”.

Nxesi noted that key to the prevention of corruption in infrastructure projects was the establishment of a strong financial system, transparent procurement processes and incentivisation.

Moreover, Patel advised that the competition authorities had used the findings of the investigations to identify networks and channels used by companies in collusive practises and had identified the lead players and managers.

This would be used to develop internal preventive controls to reduce the opportunity for future collusion.

In addition, Patel said the CEO of any company awarded an infrastructure tender would be required to sign an “integrity pact” that committed them to competitive and noncorrupt practises and to create a culture in their organisation in which anticompetitive behaviour was discouraged.

“This will require executives to commit personal responsibility and liability,” he said.

The integrity pact was currently being piloted in a number of infrastructure tenders and would be fully implemented throughout the course of this year.

Patel said it was critical that the new phase of national infrastructure development not be characterised by similar high levels of collusion and price-fixing.

“Companies will have to make an important calculation. In the past, they thought collusion was a no-brainer; that they would secure the contract and walk away with the money. Now they see that we have developed the investigatory capacity to track the evidence down and to bring companies to book. That is the most important breakthough for us,” he said.

Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn

World Bank Advised Ethiopia to Audit Large Telecom Agreements


Business Ethiopia

Reporter

January 11, 2013

The World Bank (WB) in its report on the status of corruption in Ethiopia advised the government to audit Ethio Telecom’s large agreements. 

According to the report launched this morning at the Hilton Addis, focusing on the level of corruption in the country in different sector sectors, the government needs to apply standards to Ethio Telecom that are in line with Ethiopia’s Public Procurement Proclamation.

The report, “Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia”, in its subtopic that assessed the level of corruption in the telecom sector also stated that absence of uniform procurement standards is one of the major causes of corruption, among others.

The report highlighted that the vendor financing contract entered into by the then ETC (Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation now named Ethio Telecom) in 2006 appears to be highly unusual. “…This brief study should not be seen as an investigation or interpreted as alleging in itself that corruption has necessarily occurred. However, the circumstances as perceived both by stakeholders and by independent observers do raise serious questions about the control of risks in this sector.”

The stakeholders of the then 1.5 billion US dollars vendor financing argue that ETC’s financial requirements were not provided in detail to those suppliers (other than possibly the winning supplier –China’s ZTE) that had been approached to consider providing such financing. The report also stated that there is no evidence of a formal tender procedure for the finance package.

“The supplier selected by the ETC to supply the finance package that suited the ETC’s purposes. The equipment supply element of the vendor financing contract was not put out to competitive tender.”
The report stated that generally the contract was not in accordance with the ETC’s procurement procedure and no competitive tender for the contract and subcontracts.

“Difficulty in measuring technical compliance: By appointing one supplier without competitive tender, the ETC has no opportunity to assess the degree of technical compliance of the supplier’s equipment. The contract was also inappropriate and went through unclear procedures for ensuring technical quality and competitive pricing,” according to the report.

In addition, the report further mentioned that Ethio Telecom is vulnerable to corruption because it is under government monopoly.

Health, education, water, justice, construction, land and mining are also the sectors surveyed by the report sponsored by the World Bank, Canada International Development Agency, UK Aid and the government of the Netherlands.

“Some of the recommendations of the report are under implementation,” said Ali Suleman, Commissioner of the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC).  While the report also recalled that in January 2008, the FEACC 2008 brought charges against a former ETC CEO and 26 former ETC executives for allegedly “procuring low-quality equipment from companies that were supposed to be rejected on the basis of procurement regulations.”

World Bank country Director, Guang Zhe Chen, on his part stressed that the purpose of the study is conducted to support evidence-based policy formation.

EU donors freeze aid to Uganda over corruption


Bloomberg News

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — More Western donors are freezing aid to Uganda after a scam in which up to $13 million in donor money was embezzled in the office of Uganda’s prime minister. The aid freeze is the kind of action long demanded by transparency campaigners who charge that the money oils a corrupt system.

Uganda has a reputation as a corrupt country, but the latest scandal — brought to light by the country’s auditor general in October — is remarkable for its details: More than $220,000 was spent on gas in four days, millions of dollars were diverted to buy luxury vehicles for top officials, and millions were deposited into individuals’ private accounts.

Because the money was for the rehabilitation of parts of northern Uganda devastated by decades of warlord Joseph Kony‘s brutal insurgency, the scandal has provoked a lasting rage around the country and inspired aid cuts that foreign donors had been reluctant to inflict on this East African country.

Roberto Ridolfi, the head of the European Union delegation to Uganda, said in a statement late Tuesday that the scandal and those before it amounted to “a breach of trust” on the part of Ugandan authorities. Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Britain and Denmark have already cut or cancelled all aid to Uganda over the scam, saying they have lost faith in the government’s capacity to spend money responsibly.

Western donors fund up to 25 percent of Uganda’s budget.

Ridolfi said the EU and its development partners in Uganda “will withhold pending budget support disbursements and any further commitments for an initial period of up to (six) months.”

The donors are giving Uganda until April to pay back all the lost money, investigate the scandal, and take action against all the suspects. But investigations of this nature, when they happen, rarely produce the intended results in Uganda, where corruption charges are often politicized and then dismissed. This year three ministers with close ties to President Yoweri Museveni who faced corruption charges were set free by a judge who said they were scapegoats. The three politicians swiftly returned to their jobs […]

Some campaigners who had long urged donors to act tougher against official waste and graft say the audacity of the latest scandal vindicates their calls for the dismantling of an often-comfortable relationship between the state and its donors. They want foreign aid to be channeled through non-state actors engaged in service delivery and for donors to work directly with contractors in cases where the authorities cannot be trusted with cash.

“For the first time the donors are coming out and putting clear benchmarks and I think it’s a good move,” said Cissy Kagaba of the Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda, a watchdog group. “But there are other alternatives they can use to ensure that the money reaches the intended beneficiaries.” Read the full article here.

Uganda participates in East African procurement forum


The Independent

By Julius Businge

December 5, 2012

The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) Executive Director, Cornelia Sabiiti is leading a team of 19 professionals to a regional procurement forum in Bujumbura, Burundi that runs from Dec. 5 to 7, the procurement body said in a press statement released on Dec. 5.

Over 200 delegates from public, private and civil organisations in the region are attending the 5th East African Procurement Forum being held in Bujumbura.

During the three day conference delegates from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan will deliberate on issues affecting public procurement in the region. The objective of the forum is to serve as a framework that helps participants learn and benchmark with each other on their respective public procurement systems including policies and enforcement measures.

The Ugandan team includes delegates from Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), Ministry of Education & Sports, Uganda Management Institute (UMI), Ministry of Health, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Ministry of Local Government, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), Institute of Procurement Professionals of Uganda (IPPU), AH Consulting and the Ministry of Defense.

Uganda will be presenting six papers including a paper on ethics and transparency in the management of public procurement; the contribution of civil society and the public sectors on ethics and transparency in public procurement. Another paper will look at the challenges of an independent regulatory authority.

The Burundi forum comes on the heels of the successful public procurement symposium PPDA held in September 2012 bringing together public and private sector professionals in Uganda.

Senegal’s reforms and red carpets


Africa Report

November 27, 2012

Senegal’s President Macky Sall has slashed government spending to finance new infrastructure projects.

Faced with an audit of Wade-era projects, the opposition says he is playing political games. Dakar has been rolling out the red carpet in recent weeks.

Elected in March on a reform ticket, President Macky Sall is in demand as an interlocutor – whether it is by the World Bank, the UN or France’s President François Hollande, who stopped in Dakar on 12 October en route to his more controversial landing in Kinshasa for the Francophonie summit.

This month, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation is holding its annual development conference in Dakar to salute Senegal’s political achievements.

Dakar’s National Assembly gave Hollande the chance to set out his Africa policy, which he insisted was non-interventionist and non-paternalistic.

Hollande seized the chance for a tête à tête with Sall, seeking his help for the regional effort to tackle the worsening in- security in Mali.

Senegal’s troops, alongside Ghana’s, are regarded as the most professional in the region.

But Sall has plenty of local problems to tackle – such as the perennial rainy-season flooding.

The government’s failure to invest in flood defences was one of the reasons for voters turning against former President Abdoulaye Wade.

In September, Macky Sall pushed through a bill to abolish the Senate, the second chamber in the National Assembly.

He promised that the 767bn CFA francs ($1.5bn) would be used to finance a 10-year plan for effective flood defences, storm drainage and sanitation.

Opponents to Sall’s plan accuse him of partisan plotting.

The Senate was dominated by members of Wade’s [I]Parti Démocratique Sénégalais[/I].

But Sall’s supporters insist the plan reflects the need to cut ballooning government overheads inherited from the Wade era.

The Sall government aims to cut the budget deficit from current levels of 7.4% of gross domestic product down to 4% by 2015.

So far, Sall has closed 59 moribund state institutions, banned first-class travel for civil servants and is selling a presidential jet.

To promote accountability, Sall has published details of all official salaries, declared his own assets and promised to cut salaries at state-run companies to below 5m CFA francs per month.

“Humility, sobriety and rigour should govern our politics,” Sall told The Africa Report’s sister magazine Jeune Afrique after his election.

“I assure you that there will be a profound break from the practices that were in force under my predecessor.”

The new government has quickly launched audits of government departments and projects for evidence of illicit disbursements.

This includes projects run by Wade’s son Karim, such as the 650bn CFA franc energy crisis programme, Plan Takkal.

Britain, France and the United States have pledged cooperation in tracking down stolen money.

Sall rejects claims of political vindictiveness: “The only thing that interests us is that the errors of the past don’t repeat themselves,” he said.

The courts will take cases identified by the audit.

His promise to cut the presidential term from seven to five years with immediate effect won local and international plaudits, as did his agreement with the African Union to set up a special tribunal for Chad’s ex-leader Hissène Habré, in exile in Senegal since 1990.

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