Cablegate: Alex Segura - the Scandal Continues

DE RUEHDK #1358/01 3031351
P 301351Z OCT 09




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Alex Segura - The Scandal Continues

REF: Dakar 1279

1. (SBU) Summary: After revelations that former IMF Resident
Representatives, Alex Segura, left Senegal with a Presidential cash
gift valued in the neighborhood of USD 200,000, local media and
opposition leaders have continued to slam President Abdoulaye Wade
for what they call his crass attempt to bribe the IMF and the
consequent tarnishing of Senegal's image. In turn, Wade has
obfuscated, twisted the facts, and blamed others for this incident.
Finally, in a fit of pique, Wade marched out of a press conference
when journalists kept haranguing him about his role in what has now
been dubbed "l'Affaire Segura." End Summary.

The Story So Far

2. (SBU) On October 9 2009, Senegalese media broke the news that
Alex Segura was caught in Paris carrying a suitcase filled with,
which at the time, they claimed exceeded CFA 500 million. Since
then, the political and media scene has been ablaze in debate about
whether or not this was an attempt to bribe or frame Segura or if
President Wade went overboard in his gift-giving. The Senegalese
authorities initially responded through the Minister of
communication, Mr. Mustafa Guirassy, who contradicted the news
stories stating that "the government of Senegal had nothing to do
with this affair."

3. (SBU) The government began to scramble for answers and excuses
when, on October 26, the IMF released a communiqu confirming that
Segura received a substantial sum of money from President Wade at
the time of his departure from Senegal on September 25, denying his
arrest in Paris by the French customs officers, and stating that
Segura had reported everything to the IMF's ethics commission. The
communiqu also revealed that the envelope contained EUR 100,000 and
USD 50,000, a total of CFA 90 million (USD 200,000).

4. (SBU) While the IMF communiqu neither absolved Segura nor
berated the Senegalese government for anything at all, it directly
contradicted the government's initial denial that any money had been
given to Segura, as well as clarifying statements by Prime Minister
Souleymane Ndene Ndiaye, who on the same day had said that only CFA
65 million was actually offered. The PM then dug himself into a
bigger hole when he tried to blithely dismiss the amount as
inconsequential, claiming, "It can't even buy you an apartment in
Paris." Both Foreign Minister Madick Niang and the Prime Minister
then attempted to limit the extent of the damage by saying that it
was an unimportant farewell gift and that gift-giving was "a
tradition in Africa."

Finally the President Speaks

4. (SBU) After weeks of maneuvering, President Wade has now been
forced to admit that he did give the money to Segura, but, as was
expected, he Pontius Pilated himself out of the story by offering
his Aide De Camp, Colonel Cissokho, as a scapegoat, claiming that
the Colonel had made a mistake in the amount that was supposed to
have been gien. In a statement released Tuesday 27 October, Wde
said the gift was most definitely not a bribeas "Segura was not a
friend to Senegal because he never missed an opportunity to
publically denounce my government." The pesident explained that
the money was intended asa recognition of his contribution to
Senegal, andwas not in any way intended to influence him, "Whe
someone has remained a long time with us, then t is our tradition
to offer a gift, either in kind or in a modest sum of money so he
can buy himself and his family souvenirs." President Wade confirmed
that he had told IMF Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, during a phone
call, that he had made a monumental error. He also confirmed that
the money has been returned to the Senegalese authorities.

5. (SBU) In response, some opposition parties are asking that
President Wade resign, saying that he has irreparably tainted
Senegal's image, while others are going as far as saying that he
should be impeached for high treason. The Socialist Party has asked
that the United Nations be tasked with carrying out an independent

6. (SBU) Comment: This story has legs and it is likely that, despite
the President having walked out of a press conference in frustration
at being asked questions about "l'Affaire Segura," the opposition
will use it to attack him endlessly as another example of the
endemic corruption of his government. While it will be difficult to
work out what really happened, Senegal's image is tainted. Some
international donors have already noted that the time may be ripe to

DAKAR 00001358 002 OF 002

push a weakened and reeling President Wade to enact some serious
reforms to curb corruption in his Administration. End Comment.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

UN Report: Myanmar Approaching Point Of Economic Collapse

The turmoil following the military coup in Myanmar, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 could result in up to 25 million people – nearly half of the country’s population, living in poverty by early next year, a United Nations report said on Friday. That ... More>>

World Vision: India’s Second Wave Shows The Global Fight Against COVID-19 Is Far From Won

As India’s COVID-19 daily infection rates reach devastating levels, international aid agency World Vision has warned that the world is nowhere near defeating this virus and some nations are yet to face their worst days. Andrew Morley, World Vision ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us: “Healthcare Can No Longer Exist Without Technology”

A grandmother in a village in the Gambia should have the same quality of life and access to healthcare they deserve as in New York or London. Photo: InnovaRx Global Health Start-up Works To Bridge Healthcare Gap In The Gambia By: Pavithra Rao As ... More>>