11 March 2018

Mauritius - Media-Savvy President Still Stands Her Ground As Graft Scandal Closes in

analysis

Mauritius is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its independence from British rule this week, but a corruption scandal around the island's first woman president, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, has cast a cloud over the festivities. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.

It's been storming in Mauritius pretty much all the way since after New Year, ruining some crops and the holidays of hundreds of tourists who come to the island's renowned resorts to unwind.

Lately, however, a cyclone of an entirely different kind has engulfed the tiny country with its idyllic beaches, sugarcane fields, booming businesses and big properties.

On 28 February L'Express newspaper reported that President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim abused a credit card given to her by controversial Angolan businessman Álvaro Sobrinho. Ostensibly, it was meant to promote a PhD programme which bore Gurib-Fakim's name, but documents obtained by the paper showed that the president's platinum card was used for other purposes.

From September to December 2016 it was used to pay hotel bills in Sweden and England, and for a 43,811 Mauritian rupees (R15,687) purchase (perhaps a laptop) at an Apple store in Washington DC.

There was a Rs5,895 bill for clothes in Dubai, and a Rs8,001 shoe purchase in Abu Dhabi, and...

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