Africa's Only Woman President Resigns Over Claims of Financial Impropriety

Mauritian PM rubbishes commission of inquiry set up by President Gurib-Fakim
Mauritian president resigns over credit card scandal

18 March, 2018

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Africa's only female head of state, offered her resignation in the "national interest", according to her lawyer Yousouf Mohamed.

The president has been facing growing pressure, including from Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, after a local paper, L'Express, said she had used a credit card issued by an worldwide non-governmental organization to buy clothes and jewelry in Italy and Dubai.

Local L'Express newspaper reported in February that the country's first female president, a renowned scientist, had used a credit card given to her by the Planet Earth Institute (PEI) in London to buy jewellery and clothes overseas.

On Wednesday the president - who denies wrongdoing - rejected calls to resign, saying she was ready to provide evidence in court to debunk the accusations, prompting a rebuke from the prime minister.

In the supreme interest of the country and that of the Mauritian population, she prefers to go.

The country's prime minister had originally said she would stand down last Monday.

Her resignation is effective on March 23.

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Prime Minister of the nation Pravind Jugnauth had threatened to force Gurib-Fakim out of her position which is largely ceremonial.

However, both Gurib-Fakim and the Planet Earth institute claimed that the president had later refunded the money.

In 2016, she received a credit card from PEI to pay for travel and other expenses related to her work for the organisation.

Ms Gurib-Fakim has been engulfed by an expenses scandal.

An investigation by L'Express detailed the purchase of a laptop in September 2016, clothes, shoes and jewellery in October, more jewellery in November and luxury clothing in December.

Gurib-Fakim, under pressure from the opposition, resigned shortly afterwards from her role at the PEI.

In 2017, he was allowed to set up an investment bank in Mauritius, which prompted critics to accuse the government of playing favouritism.

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