Sudan attorney general orders formation of committee to oversee corruption probe

Sudanese protestors wave signs and flags as they continue to protest outside the army complex in the capital Khartoum on April 17, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 20 April 2019

Sudan attorney general orders formation of committee to oversee corruption probe

  • Al-Walid Sayed Ahmed had submitted a request to lift the immunity of a number of officers suspected of killing a teacher who died in custody in February
  • Protest leaders are to hold talks Saturday with Sudan’s military rulers who have so far resisted calls to transfer power to a civilian administration

CAIRO: Sudan's attorney general on Saturday ordered the formation of a committee to oversee investigations into crimes involving public funds, corruption and criminal cases related to recent events, the state news agency SUNA said, citing a statement from the attorney general.
SUNA also said that attorney general Al-Walid Sayed Ahmed had submitted a request to the director of the country's National Intelligence and Security Services to lift the immunity of a number of officers suspected of killing a teacher who died in custody in February.

Earlier on Saturday, a judicial source said that Sudan's public prosecutor has begun investigating ousted President Omar Al-Bashir on charges of money laundering and possession of large sums of foreign currency without legal grounds. 
The source said that military intelligence had searched Bashir's home and found suitcases loaded with more than $351,000 and six million euros, as well as five million Sudanese pounds.
"The chief public prosecutor... ordered the (former) president detained and quickly questioned in preparation to put him on trial," a judicial source told Reuters.
"The public prosecution will question the former president in Kobar prison," the source added.
Relatives could not be immediately reached on Saturday for comment about the investigation.
Bashir, who is also being sought by the International Criminal Court over allegations of genocide in the country's western Darfur region, was ousted on April 11 by the military following months of protests against his rule and had been held at a presidential residence.
Bashir's family said this week that the former president had been moved to the high-security Kobar prison in Khartoum.
As president Bashir often played up his humble beginnings as the child of a poor farming family in Hosh Bannaga, a small village consisting mainly of mud houses on the eastern bank of the Nile some 150 km (93 miles) north of Khartoum.
The Sudanese Professionals' Association, leading the protests, has called for holding Bashir and members of his administration to account, a purge of corruption and cronyism and easing an economic crisis that worsened during Bashir's last years in power.
On Wednesday, Sudan's transitional military council ordered the central bank to review financial transfers since April 1 and to seize "suspect" funds, according to state news agency SUNA.
The council also ordered the "suspension of the transfer of ownership of any shares until further notice and for any large or suspect transfers of shares or companies to be reported" to authorities.

Meanwhile, protest leaders are to hold talks Saturday with Sudan’s military rulers who have so far resisted calls to transfer power to a civilian administration, a head figure in the protests told AFP.
“The military council will hold talks with the Alliance for Freedom and Change at 8:00 p.m. (1800 GMT) today,” said Siddiq Yousef, a senior member of the umbrella group leading the protest movement.


Resumed cargo flights: Thaw in Israel-Turkey ties?

Updated 25 May 2020

Resumed cargo flights: Thaw in Israel-Turkey ties?

  • Ankara’s involvement in Syria’s Idlib province against the Tehran-backed Assad regime has recently provided a common denominator for Turkey and Israel to reconcile
  • Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians remains a major irritant in relations with Ankara – Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday reiterated his support for the Palestinians

ISTANBUL: Israeli airline El Al has resumed cargo flights twice weekly between Tel Aviv and Istanbul for the first time in 10 years — a sign that decade-long bilateral tensions might be easing.
A cargo flight landed in Istanbul on Sunday morning to pick up humanitarian aid and protective equipment destined for US medical teams fighting COVID-19.
Burhanettin Duran, head of the Ankara-based think tank SETA, wrote that Turkey’s regional empowerment is “obliging Israel to search for normalization steps with Ankara.”
Dr. Nimrod Goren, head of the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, said the cargo flight is a positive and visible development in bilateral relations that was probably approved by top government officials on both sides and required diplomatic efforts.
“However, the fact that this step takes place in parallel to a discussion about Israeli annexation in the West Bank, and to criticism of annexation by regional and international actors, might impact how it’s viewed in Turkey,” he told Arab News.
Goren said while the Israeli and Turkish governments continue to have significant policy differences, they should work to restore their relations to ambassadorial level, and to relaunch a strategic dialogue on regional developments of mutual interest.
“The forming of a new Israeli government, and the appointment of Gabi Ashkenazi as a new foreign minister, could be an opportunity to do so, and the cargo flight brings some positive momentum,” he added.
Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador in May 2018 after the US moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Ankara’s involvement in Syria’s Idlib province against the Tehran-backed Assad regime has recently provided a common denominator for Turkey and Israel to reconcile, as it also serves the latter’s strategic interests in weakening the Iranian presence in Syria.
But Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians remains a major irritant in relations with Ankara. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday reiterated his support for the Palestinians. 
In a video message on Twitter, he said the issue of Jerusalem “is a red line for all Muslims worldwide.”
He added that Israel’s “new occupation and annexation project … disrespects Palestine’s sovereignty and international law.”
Ryan Bohl, Middle East analyst at geopolitical-risk firm Stratfor, told Arab News: “Turkey is trying to create economic ties with Israel because … Erdogan is finding the political ground changed, caused in part by demographic changes as young Turks are less incensed by the Palestinian issue, and in part by a general weariness among Turks about putting too much skin in the game to solve the Palestinian question,” 
Israel is expected to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank on July 1 under the terms of a coalition government agreement. Ankara has strongly criticized the plan.
Israeli and Turkish officials are rumored to have held talks behind closed doors to reach a deal on maritime borders and exclusive economic zones in the eastern Mediterranean. 
Israel’s Foreign Ministry recently said it was “proud of our diplomatic relations with Turkey.”
But Goren said it is currently unlikely that Israel will advance a maritime demarcation deal with Turkey as it would shake several regional balances at the same time.
“It will put in jeopardy, and run in contrast to, the important alliances in the eastern Mediterranean that Israel has fostered in recent years with Greece, Cyprus and Egypt,” he added.