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Mauritania: ex-president in court on corruption charges

Former Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz delivers a speech during the launching of the Old Cities Festival, in Oualata, on November 20, 2018 [THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images]
Former Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz delivers a speech during the launching of the Old Cities Festival, in Oualata, on November 20, 2018 [THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images]

The former President of Mauretania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, appeared in court yesterday on corruption charges, one of more than a hundred defendants including former officials. There was tight security around the Palace of Justice in Nouakchott for the appearance.

There was also tight security at the National Security Department, the headquarters of the economic crime police, which over the past months have been investigating the case against Ould Abdel Aziz.

Prominent officials involved in the case include former Minister of Finance and Director of the National Industrial and Mining Company, Mokhtar Ajay; the former General Director of the Mauritanian Aviation Company, Amal Bent Mouloud; and the former General Manager of the Mauritanian Company for Fish Exports, Ahmed Ould Gilfoun.

The defence team acting for the former president described the proceedings as an attempt to block a lawsuit that they filed with the liberty and detention judge against restricting their client's freedom "illegally" several months ago. The court is expected to consider this today, Wednesday.

READ: Former Mauritania president refuses to reveal source of wealth

The case against Ould Abdel Aziz arises from accusations against the former president and a number of his ministers and their entourage of "being involved in corruption cases". The allegations were contained in a report issued by the Mauritanian Parliament last June which was referred to the judiciary.

The authorities arrested Ould Abdel Aziz on 17 August. He was released on bail pending a full investigation.

The current President of Mauritania is President Mohamed Ould Ghazwani, who was elected in June 2019. He took office two months after the election and was supported by Ould Abdel Aziz.

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