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Mauritania freezes assets of ex-president while searching for more abroad 

September 17, 2020 at 2:58 pm

Former Mauritanian President Ould Abdel Aziz in Nouakchott on 1 August 2019 [SEYLLOU/afp/AFP/Getty Images]

Authorities in Mauritania have frozen the assets of former President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz following his arrest last month and the impending investigation into financial corruption during his ten years in office.

Abdel Aziz was released three weeks ago and placed under surveillance by the Economic Crimes  Police as the investigation continues.

According to a report by Al-Quds Al-Arabi, sources close to the investigation have revealed that judicial authorities have also seized the former president’s property, with a total estimated value of $520,325,600 (20 billion Mauritanian ouguiya).

READ: Mauritania: is it fighting corruption or is there a soft coup?

Up to 300 of the former president’s senior aides and his relatives were also involved in the investigation carried out by the Parliamentary Investigation Committee.

A bank account belonging to Abdel Aziz containing $20 million (800 million ouguiya) was also seized which he argued was from salaries accumulated during his tenure.

The investigations have also expanded beyond Mauritania’s borders as Sahara Media news agency reported that “the judicial authorities are on their way to seize other funds of the former President deposited in foreign banks”.

Abdel Aziz seized power in 2008 and served two terms as president before being succeeded last August by Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani, his close aide and former ex-defence minister.

READ: Former Mauritania president refuses to reveal source of wealth