I have two guests staying with me from Spain. They were stopped today in a car by a policeman. The policeman asked for their passports and as their embassy advised them to leave the original and carry only photocopies when going around town, they did not have them. They were travelling to St Louis.
After threatening to take them TO JAIL.... they ended up paying the guy 20,000cfa, about $44.
I have lived here 14 years and 20,000cfa paid to a policeman in Senegal? I have NEVER seen that before! I was very proud of or guys in fact but we have had several incidents which make me a bit nervous and worried that we are sinking into the same lawlessness that other African contries have when it comes to police corruption.
When I get stopped for whatever reason, IF I pay, normally I don't, but if I do, I give them a telephone car or a pack of cigarretes and keep it moving. I have only given cash 2 times here, 1,000cfa each time. 14 years, $4 basically.
To me, that's not corruption, that's efficiency!
On the other hand, I paid thousands in tickets in the US in that amount of time so a pack of cigarettes is peanuts to me and I don't even worry about it.
With regard to the passport, I NEVER carry my passport - I don't even know where it is! It hasn't been stamped since 1999 anyway and is probably expired. I haven't looked at it in years.
Immigration is not stamping the visitor passports upon arrival. People are just passing thru the lines, not getting their passports stamped and later, when a policeman stops them during spot searches their passport looks like they snuck in illegally, even though they came thru the airport! Then he's free to extort as much money as he thinks he can get.
BE SURE YOU GET YOUR PASSPORTS STAMPED BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE IMMIGRATION LINE WHEN YOU GET OFF THE PLANE. BE AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON.