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"Suitcases of Cash": Sarkozy in Police Custody for Gaddafi Deal

It's the latest piece of a scandal that once again gives us a look into the system of criminal dealings between French and African elites.

Just as he was about to make a triumphant return to the French politics, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been detained by police over questions about 50 million euros ($US 61 million at today's exchange rate) his campaign received in the run-up to his 2007 electoral win.


The money, said to have come from the Libyan regime of then president Muammar Gaddafi, would be a violation of France's campaign financing laws which do not allow funding from foreign government sources. Documents obtained by French investigative website Mediapart in 2012 appear to show approval for the money's disbursement by Libyan authorities.

In typical French style the story involves shadowy middlemen and allegations of suitcases full of cash being delivered by hand. This ongoing scandal is also the latest manifestation of the special relationship between France and the African continent known in the francophone world as françafrique—a type of neocolonial arrangement where French elites and those in France's sphere of influence on the continent engage in mutually beneficial corrupt practices in the pursuit of power and enrichment.

As described by French writer François-Xavier Verschave

Over the course of four decades, hundreds of thousands of euros misappropriated from debt, aid, oil, cocoa… or drained through French importing monopolies, have financed French political-business networks (all of them offshoots of the main neo-Gaullist network), shareholders' dividends, the secret services' major operations and mercenary expeditions.

It's a kind of arrangement backed up in part by French military incursions into the continent. Ironically, Sarkozy was one of the major planners for the 2011 NATO Libyan invasion which helped overthrow and eventually kill Gaddafi—a fact not lost on Gaddafi scion Said Al Islam Gaddafi (who, like Sarkozy, is also itching to get back into politics) who says in a 2011 interview that

"Sarkozy must repay to Libya the money he took for his election campaign. We financed his election campaign and we have all the details and we are ready to publish them. The first thing we ask of this clown Sarkozy is that he repay this money to the Libyan people. We helped him become president so that he would help the Libyan people. but he has disappointed us and very soon we will publish all the details and the documents and banking pay slips".


Shady financing of French elections by African leaders is not unique to Sarkozy by any means. French lawyer Robert Bourgi who served as an adviser to Sarkozy and his predecessor Jacques Chirac claims that between 1995 and 2005 he personally delivered briefcases, duffel bags and even a set of African drums full of cash through underground corridors in the Elysée palace. The sources of the money Bourgi claims were five African heads of states, including the since deposed Laurent Gbagbo of Côte d'Ivoire and Gabon's late Omar Bongo.

Under French law Sarkozy, who was detained this morning, can be held up to 48 hours for questioning.

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OkayAfrica Presents: 'The Adinkra Oracle' December Reading with Simone Bresi-Ando

We're back with another Adinkra reading from Simone Bresi-Ando to help guide you through the end of the year—and the end of the decade.

It's the a new month and that means we're ready for a new Adinkra reading from Simone Bresi-Ando to help you navigate your December.

After cleansing the space, Simone will pull five Adinkra Ancestral Guidance Cards from a deck of 44 Adinkra symbols—these cards help to channel information, messages and direction from your ancestors using Adinkra symbols when read correctly. Remember, as Simone says, "these readings tell you what you need to know and not necessarily what you want to know—our ancestors are emotionally pure."

Simone gives a general reading of what December has in store to help you know what actions and thoughts are necessary to get the best out of the month. This is a special installment as it also guides you through the end of the year—and the end of the decade.

Watch below.

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Video: Davido Talks About His New Album 'A Good Time' & How the World Has Opened Up to Afrobeats

In 'Moments With: Davido,' the Nigerian superstar tells us about the massive success of "Fall," his relationship with Wizkid, collaborating with Popcaan, and much more.

Davido stopped by our offices in New York City during the packed days around his new album, A Good Time.

The Nigerian superstar sat down with OkayAfrica and spoke in-depth about what made "Fall" such a massive success, the new album, his reported (past) beef with Wizkid, collaborating with Popcaan on "Risky," Western artists using African sounds, and—most importantly—how "it's the world to Africa right now."

Watch our Moments With video with Davido below.

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Yilian Canizares & Paul Beaubrun in "Noyé." Photo: Ben Depp.

The 13 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Makwa x Maraza x AKA, Joeboy, Zlatan, Nadia Nakia, TOBi x The Game, Yilian Canizares, Aewon Wolf and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Trump Plans to Extend Travel Ban to Nigeria, Tanzania, Sudan, Eritrea & Three Other Countries

Here's what the travel ban could mean for these nations.

On Tuesday is was announced that Donald Trump's administration plans to extend its infamous travel ban to include seven new countries, many of them in Africa.

The countries named on the list, include Nigeria, Tanzania, Sudan and Eritrea, as well as Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, and the Eastern European nation of Belarus. Politico first broke the news.

According to The Washington Post, the move would likely not be a complete ban on citizens looking to enter the US, however it could place various visa restrictions on some government officials and on those seeking certain type of visitor and business visas.

Some nations could also be banned from participation in the diversity travel lottery program, which grants green cards. Trump has threatened to sack the program in the past.

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