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Senegal's opposition calls for protests after Covid funds "mismanaged"

FILE: Senegalese opposition supporters bang pots as part of a demonstration called by opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, outside his home in Dakar on June 30, 2022.   -  
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Senegal's main opposition coalition Yewii Askan Wi has called for a "concert of pans" on New Year’s Eve, as the president addresses the nation.

They're angry after a report by Senegal's Court of Auditors revealed that the nation’s Response Fund against the effects of Covid-19 - which held more one billion euros - was subject to "mismanagement and criminal offences."

It was funded by both the state and international donors.

"A thousand billion was put on the table to fight Covid, to save the Senegalese," MP Cheikh Tidiane Youm said. "And during that time, the thousand billion that was intended to prevent deaths, some ministers shamelessly and unscrupulously used the funds, like thieves."

The audit of expenditures in 2020 and 2021 also revealed that about 28 million euros - spent by various ministries - was not spent on Covid-19 at all. 

 Opposition leader Ousmane Sonko called on Senegalese - both at home and abroad - to denounce the mismanagement.

"We want the whole world to hear the noise of pans on December 31 at 20:00 (GMT). They shall know that the people are not happy with Macky Sall and his government. I call on all Senegalese of all ages to take part in this concert of pots and pans to make the maximum noise because Macky Sall only knows this language."

The Court of Auditors has asked the Ministry of Justice to open a judicial investigation against at least 10 people, including officials from the ministries involved in the irregularities.

The opposition groups plan on holding a rally on January 6.

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