Lamine Diack

   Former IAAF President Diack sounding the bell

Astonishing claim that over $1.6 million in drug doping bribes from Russia funded the sitting Senegalese President’s election campaign has left dark cloud hanging over Macky Sall, the man who is seen as one of Africa’s darling democrats. What makes the allegations so striking is that the man sounding the bell is himself a Senegalese. Lamine Diack, 82, was arrested on suspicion of graft and money laundering.

The former President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) told French investigators that $1.6 million of Russian money was used to unseat President Abdoulaye Wase in 2012. The bribe was paid to conceal Russia’s positive doping tests. Diack’s account comes at a time some leaked documents to that effect surface.

Diack, who headed the world athletic body for 16 years, was quoted as saying that the said money was badly needed to ‘win the battle of Dakar.’ Le Monde quoted him as saying money was required to mobilise youth campaigners, rent vehicles, meeting rooms and to produce leaflets.

Russian athletes were suspended for the world championship in Russia. “We agreed to help and in return Russia supported us,” Mr. Diack said.

Meanwhile, Senegalese government spokesman debunked Diack’s allegations. Seydou Gueye said President Macky Sall was not involved in the bribery.

It would be a big blow to many Africans if Diack’s account turns out to be true. The scandal has already allows people to question Senegal’s democracy. The Sall government has been stamping on corruption and bribery and even jailed high profile former government officials. Among the jailed official is Karim Wade, the former minister and son of former President Abdoulaye Wade.

Ends

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