Monday 10 December 2018

Africa’s only female head of state resigns amid financial misconduct claims

Mauritius president Ameenah Gurib-Fakim submitted her resignation in the ‘national interest’, her lawyer said.

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (Zoltan Mathe/MTI via AP)
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (Zoltan Mathe/MTI via AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

The president of the Indian Ocean nation of Mauritius, Africa’s only female head of state, has resigned amid a financial scandal.

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim submitted her resignation in the “national interest”, her lawyer Yousouf Mohamed told reporters.

Her resignation is effective on March 23.

It has been alleged that Ms Gurib-Fakim made personal purchases with a credit card provided by an NGO, whose Angolan founder has sought to do business in Mauritius and is under investigation for alleged fraud in Portugal.

Ms Gurib-Fakim said earlier this week that she “inadvertently” used the credit card from the London-based Planet Earth Institute for “out-of-pocket” expenses of about 27,000 dollars (£19,360) and that she had refunded the money.

The 58-year-old, whose role is mostly ceremonial, had earlier said she was the victim of a smear campaign and said she would not resign.

But by Saturday she had changed her mind.

Ms Gurib-Fakim was appointed president in 2015 and was previously a chemistry professor and science faculty dean at the University of Mauritius.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, another female African head of state, stepped down as president of Liberia in January, handing power to President George Weah after an election.

Press Association

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