“The date finally decided on is July 31”, a source in the justice ministry told AFP. Wade, who has been in custody for over a year, is accused by the authorities of corruptly acquiring a fortune of $242 million (178 million euros) when he was a “super minister” in his father’s cabinet. The 45-year-old is the son of Abdoulaye Wade, who led the country between 2000 and 2012.
The first hearing in the trial — which had initially been expected to start in June — will be open to the public, the same source said. Wade was charged and detained in Dakar in April last year, accused of having acquired companies, real estate and a fleet of luxury cars valued at $1.4 billion by corrupt means, although that sum was later greatly reduced.
Wade, who held so much power under his father that he was even dubbed the “minister of the universe”, has said that the charges against him are “political and fanciful”. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing and says his wealth was acquired legitimately.
His lawyers, who confirmed the trial date, claim that the case has been launched to prevent Wade running in the 2017 presidential election against the current head of state, Macky Sall. The special court tasked with judging him — the court against illicit enrichment — was re-opened by Sall after he beat Abdoulaye Wade to the presidency in 2012 in an election marred by violent protests. The former president returned home in April after two years in exile in France in order to support his son. AFP]]>