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The New Arab

Sudan seizes over one billion in assets from businessman linked to ousted dictator Bashir

Ousted Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir is serving two years on corruption charges [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 April, 2020

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Sudan's anti-corruption committee said on Thursday it has seized more than $1.2 billion in stocks and real estate from businessman Abdelbasit Hamza.
Sudan's transitional government has seized $1.2 billion in assets from businessmen affiliated with the regime of ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir, The New Arab's Arabic-language agency reported.

Sudan's anti-corruption committee said on Thursday it had seized more than 30 million in stocks belonging to Abdelbasit Hamza and his companies, including MTN Sudan Ltd. - one of the Sudan's mobile phone line operators.

Committee spokesperson Salah Manna said on Thursday that Hamza, who was part of the Sudanese army's Islamic movement under Bashir, had used his government influence to amass more than two billion dollars in wealth.

Hamza took advantage of his government position, Manna said, to control the telecommunications sector. An audit has now been ordered into MTN Sudan Ltd's accounts. 

Hamza is described as the "financial manager of al-Bashir's family" by Sudan in The News.

Sudan also seized Hamza's shares in Salam Rotana Hotel and the Afra Mall - of which he owned large parts. 

Land and real estate registered in Hamza's name was also seized by the government. The New Arab's Arabic-language service reported that 75 thousand square meters of developed plots, 14 million square meters of land under the company "Dongola Arqin" and a million acres in the northern states of Sudan were all seized.

The committee said 79 properties were taken over, the total area of ​​which exceeds 35 million square meters.

Member of the Sovereign Council Mohamed Al-Faki said on Thursday that the government will continue its efforts to seize all the funds that were siphoned off by Bashir and his regime and return them to the public treasury.

The Sudanese military ousted Bashir last year after months of street demonstrations.

Bashir, who is 76, was convicted on corruption charges in December and was sentenced to two years in jail.

At the time, the judiciary ordered the confiscation of 6.9 million euros, $351,770 and 5.7 million Sudanese pounds found at Bashir's home.

Bashir admitted to having received a total of $90 million from Saudi leaders and the trial centred on $25 million received from Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Despite Sudan's political transition, which has raised hopes of more reforms, the economy remains in deep crisis. Many in Sudan still have to queue for hours to buy bread.

Read more: Sudan 'urgently needs $120 million' to avoid devastating virus outbreak

Sudanese authorities announced an increase in bread prices at the start of this month, meaning one Sudanese pound [about two US cents] now buys only a 50-gram loaf of bread, compared to one weighing 70 grams previously.

A tripling of the price of bread was the trigger for the first street protests against Bashir in December 2018.

Sudan agreed in February to hand Bashir and others to the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur but the ousted autocrat remains in prison in Khartoum.

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