Mauritius, known for its democratic stability, launched into a political crisis that could lead to the dismissal of the president. The latter refuses to resign in the face of the financial scandal.
Communication war between the head of the State of Mauritius Ameenah Gurib-Fakim and its Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth. Last Friday, the latter had officially announced that the president, embroiled in a financial scandal, had agreed to resign. A version that the main concerned denies.
“Having nothing to reproach and can provide corroborating evidence, his Excellency Ameenah Gurib-Fakim rejects any prospect of resignation,” counterattacked Wednesday, the Mauritian presidency in a statement that also said that she was “ready to take legal action to defend herself against the slanderous accusations against her”.
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, 58, the only female head of state in Africa, is accused of using a bank card for personal use to promote a scholarship program for poor students.
This financial scandal put into orbit by the Mauritian daily L’Express a dozen days ago reveals that the amount of these expenses (jewels, brand shoes, etc.), amounts to at least 25,000 euros. Ms. Gurib-Fakim acknowledged the facts, but testified that she reimbursed the money used in her personal capacity in March 2017.
The impeachment procedure, a sword of Damocles
An amount confirmed in Wednesday’s statement, however, that the president used the card “inadvertently” and “she herself immediately informed the IAP and asked for a detailed statement. It rigorously and immediately reimbursed by bank transfer these specific expenses, but also all the other expenses incurred by the IEP for its mission “. On its website, the IAP has confirmed that it has been repaid in full.
But if the case is so controversial, it is because it involves the Angolan billionaire Alvaro Sobrinho, a controversial businessman who finances PEI and since 2015 has tried several times to invest in Mauritius, according to the Express, which had already sparked controversy.
Determined to retain her power, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is now at risk of impeachment proceedings that has already threatened to lay her government before Parliament.
Gurib-Fakim is the last woman head of state in Africa – although this function is purely honorary in Mauritius – since the end of the second term in January of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who in 2005 became the first woman elected to this post on the mainland.
Gurib-Fakim “thus never received gifts, favours, wages or expenses from the PEI, nor undue benefits or advantage. Her mission ended on March 20, 2017,” said the statement.
The prime minister is yet to respond to this announcement that rubbishes his earlier claims that President Gurib-Fakim had agreed to resign.