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Dakar's embattled mayor charged with embezzlement

Seyllou Seyllou, AFP | The mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall, had been touted as a likely contender in the 2019 presidential election.

The mayor of Senegal's capital Dakar, Khalifa Sall, was charged with embezzlement of public funds and placed in custody on Tuesday, one of his lawyers told AFP.

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Sall, who has run the city since 2009 and had been seen as a possible presidential candidate, was charged with fraud involving public funds, misappropriation of public funds, criminal conspiracy and money laundering, lawyer Me Bamba Cisse said.

He said the judge had ordered Sall's detention. Five of his staff were also ordered to be remanded in custody.

On March 3, the country's chief prosecutor, Serigne Bassirou Gueye, said a judicial investigation would be opened against Sall over the alleged misappropriation of 1.83 billion CFA francs ($2.85 million, 2.7 million euros) in city funds.

Sall, a rebel member of the Socialist Party, part of the country's ruling coalition, who had been seen as a probable contender in the 2019 presidential elections, has claimed a plot may be under way to remove him from running.

"This arrest and detention is only to stop Khalifa Sall in his political ambitions," his lawyers said in a statement read to the press in court, referring to July legislative elections and the 2019 presidential polls.

Sall has repeatedly denied any malfeasance after a government monitor published a report raising a flag about missing funds.

Senegal is widely seen as one of Africa's most stable democracies.

(AFP)

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