The news of recent days is marked in Senegal by cases of alleged trafficking in diplomatic passports involving, on the one hand, members of the group « Y en a marre », and on the other hand, two members of the National Assembly. A situation that brings to the forefront the controversy surrounding this precious travel document.
Back to the diplomatic passports! The « case » Kilifeu and Simon, members of the movement « Y en a marre », still in custody at the Division of Criminal Investigations (Dic), and that of two deputies of the presidential majority (Boubacar Biaye and Mamadou Sall) in the sights of the Prosecutor for having been cited in a sordid case of trafficking in diplomatic passports, are revealing. In Senegal, there is still a mess surrounding these travel documents.
When Spain saved Senegal from an embargo in the Schengen area
Yet, during the Council of Ministers of April 17, 2019, the President of the Republic, Macky Sall, had decided to put an end to the « mess » around diplomatic passports, by attacking the modalities of granting this prestigious travel document whose issuance is undermined by fraud and trafficking.
This followed the « humiliation » suffered by Senegal in July 2018. Date at which our country had escaped an embargo against its diplomatic passports in the Schengen area, after a measure of the European Union to impose a visa on holders of diplomatic passports from certain countries. According to the press, had it not been for Spain, Senegal would have been left out. Even Paris, a privileged partner on the diplomatic level, had voted for this measure notwithstanding its close ties with Dakar. The objective of this measure was to identify the true beneficiaries of the precious sesame. But the decision was eventually suspended until the matter was clarified. All things that would have provoked the ire of President Macky Sall. The latter, by virtue of his prerogatives, wanted to require, once again, more controls to ward off this almost general hullabaloo over the precious sesame.
Thus, he gave a « bomb » to Amadou Ba, then newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, having the heavy responsibility of « removing » these travel documents from the hands of high authorities of the Republic, but also religious dignitaries. This did not fail to arouse strong reactions, especially among religious people. So far, nothing new, in light of the latest scandals around this document reported in the Senegalese press.
However, it should be noted that in Senegal, the controversies surrounding the issuance of these types of passports are not new. Indeed, we remember that in 2011, under Abdoulaye Wade, there were news reports of the marketing of this prestigious document for millions of CFA francs.
That same year, a young Senegalese man, traveling on a diplomatic passport, was arrested at Casablanca airport with drugs in his possession. Son of parents close to the power of the time, he will be pulled out of business.
Upon his accession to power in 2012, Macky Sall had decided to put order. « But the evil still persists, because anyone can dispose of it and for any purpose, including non-Senegalese, » choked a Seneweb interlocutor.
Trump administration against « abuse » of Senegalese
In December 2017, according to information from the American press, Donald Trump’s administration deplored the behavior, on American territory, of some Senegalese who abuse their status as diplomats. As an example, complaints from medical practices, private clinics and U.S. hospitals against some Senegalese nationals holding diplomatic passports have accumulated in the U.S. police departments. Indeed, after studies conducted by the authorized services, on the instructions of the U.S. Department of State, it is established that some relatives of these compatriots living in the country of Uncle Sam and holders of diplomatic passports did not pay for consultations and care they received.
In order to remedy this situation, the American authorities have invited their Senegalese counterparts to be more attentive and vigilant in the issuance of these prestigious travel documents.
Who should have a diplomatic passport?
A diplomatic passport is a travel document that allows its holder to enjoy exceptional privileges abroad inherent to his legal status or international courtesy measures attached to his rank. It is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for one year. However, it can be extended.
Normally, only members of the government, members of institutions such as the Senate -which no longer exists-, the National Assembly, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (Cese), magistrates and Senegalese civil servants working in international organizations should have it. However, in Senegal, the observation is unanimous: this sesame is distributed like hotcakes and very often benefits people who are not entitled to it.