Transparency International calls for foreign bribery investigations into Senegal’s lucrative oil deals

Authorities in at least six countries should investigate suspicious deals for two major oil blocks off the coast of Senegal, Transparency International said today. In light of the apparent reluctance of the Senegalese authorities to fully investigate and hold perpetrators to account, it is critical that the available evidence is promptly examined by the authorities in countries that have jurisdiction over the case: Australia, Romania, Malaysia, Singapore, UK and the US.

In 2019, independent investigations by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and BBC Africa Eye uncovered previously unknown details surrounding the 2012 sale of concession rights for the Deep St. Louis and Deep Cayar offshore blocks, located off the coast of Senegal.

These revelations implicate the incumbent president of Senegal, Macky Sall, his brother, Aliou Sall, and the son of the former president.

According to the reports, the controversial Romanian-Australian businessman Frank Timis allegedly bribed Senegalese officials in efforts to acquire access to lucrative oil and gas reserves under extremely favourable conditions. His business partner Eddie Wong, who holds passports of Malaysia and Singapore, reportedly facilitated some of these connections and came to represent Timis’s companies around the time of the sale. Timis has denied any wrongdoing.

The release of these investigations prompted protests in Senegal. In response to public pressure, the President’s brother Aliou Sall resigned from public office but rejected claims that he received secret payments. The investigation into Aliou Sall’s role was dismissed by a judge in December 2020. As the allegations of corruption remain unresolved, it is key that authorities in other countries, to which this case extends, act.

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