Mauritania’s ex-leader faces graft charges in landmark trial – The North Africa Post

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Mauritania’s former President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz is on trial on corruption charges, accused of amassing a $72m fortune while in office, whereby the prosecution of a former leader is unprecedented in the country and extremely rare in Africa.

Abdel Aziz (66 years old) is charged with amassing an illegal personal fortune during his 11 years of power. Along with nine other defendants (including former prime ministers, ministers, and businessmen), he appeared in court in capital Nouakchott on Wednesday 25 January. They are facing charges of abuse of office and influence peddling, money laundering, and illicit enrichment. Abdel Aziz, a trader’s son who came to power in a bloodless coup, stepped down in 2019 after two terms in which he defused violence from armed groups that has swept across other countries in the Sahel.

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani was his former right-handman and he succeeded him. Within a month of the handover there were accusations of financial misdealing. Aziz is accused in swindling money from state contracts, the sale of real-estate, and amassing an estimated fortune of $72m. The ex-president has denied the allegations against him but refused to answer investigators’ questions about the source of his wealth. He calls himself the victim of score-settling. He argues that he is immune from prosecution under the constitution. The prosecution is unprecedented in Mauritania as well as in Africa.

Source: north africa post

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