Senegalese mayor faces investigation over $2.85m fraud

The office of Dakar mayor Khalifa Sall, pictured here in March 2011, was unable to show receipts proving that $2.85 million of funds for rice and millet had been spent correctly

The mayor of Senegal's capital is facing a judicial probe into the disappearance of 1.83 billion CFA francs ($2.85 million) in city funds, the country's top prosecutor said Friday.

Khalifa Sall, a member of the coalition of ruling parties, has run Dakar since 2009 and has been seen as a probable contender in the 2019 presidential elections.

His office was unable to show receipts proving that funds earmarked for purchasing rice and millet for the city's population had been spent correctly, chief prosecutor Serigne Bassirou Gueye said.

"Next week I will refer to the judge of the court the case of Dakar city council regarding misappropriation of public funds, forgery and the use of forged documents," he said, before naming Sall specifically.

The money had been "taken from (city) coffers" over the last six years, Gueye said.

Almost half of the Senegalese population lives below the poverty line and many require assistance to feed their families.

Sall had repeatedly denied any malfeasance after a government monitor published a report raising a flag about missing funds.

Senegal is widely seen as one of Africa's most stable democracies.

But accusations of corruption have hit the brother of President Macky Sall -- who is unrelated to Khalifa Sall -- and plagued ministers in the administration of former president Abdoulaye Wade.