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Sudan: Holy Quran Society and media outlets foreclosed to recover funds

A man can be seen reading the Qur'an, Islam's holy book
A man can be seen reading the Qur'an, Islam's holy book

The Sudanese committee to fight corruption and recover the looted funds announced, Sunday, that the decision to seize media outlets is aimed at improving public funds which will be handed it over to the Ministry of Finance.

Last Tuesday, the Sudanese authorities took over the headquarters of Taiba and Al-Shorouk channels, in addition to the Al-Soudani and Al-Rai newspapers, and the Holy Quran Society.

Rashid Said, the member of the committee, told a news conference: “We confirm that we did not interfere in the work of any journalist or exerted any pressures on any state-owned newspaper or media organisation.”

Said added that “these measures are not meant to target the journalistic and editorial independence. They also have nothing to do

Committee member Wajdi Saleh explained that “the decision to confiscate those media outlets’ accounts and movable possession has nothing to do with their editorial independence, but it is rather issued for auditing purposes, and we are still leading investigations into banks and companies or any corruption facades used by the former ruling party.”

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Saleh noted that Al-Shorouk channel was established using the Presidency’s funds, estimated at tens of millions of Euros, and was registered in the name of businessman Jamal Al-Wali and others.

He continued: “The channel’s debts amount to $1.2 million, and the land and cars allocated to it have been sold. The debts must be paid by those who created them.”

Saleh pointed out that the Holy Quran Society casually spent 570,000 Sudanese pounds ($12,000) per month. The association, which is based in a multi-storey building, owns two hotels and 100 cars, and received periodic aid from the Presidency and the Zakat Fund; and we discovered that the association also benefits from the profits of a gold mine in the northern state.

He added, “As for Radio Al-Furqan, the staff withdrew the Quran recordings, and suspended the broadcasts to confuse and pit the public opinion against us, as if we were the Quran’s enemies, to cover up the main issue related to the source of their funds.”

READ: Sudan seizes assets of Bashir’s former ruling party

Saleh asserted that the committee issued decisions to audit the accounts of the International University of Africa, which is not subject to the authority of the Auditor General, as it receives the most extensive support from the Ministry of Finance, exceeding 400 billion pounds annually (more than $ 8.4 million).

On 11 April 2019, the Sudanese army leadership ousted Al-Bashir (1989-2019), under the pressure of widespread protests, which broke out in late 2018, denouncing the deteriorating economic conditions in the country.

On 10 December of the same year, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan chairman of the Sovereign Council issued a decision to form the committee to remove the effects of former regime’s empowerment, fight corruption and recover the looted funds.

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