Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim Resigns Over Shopping Scandal


March 17 (ANI): Tainted by a personal expenses-related scandal, Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, who was the first and only female head of a state in Africa, resigned from office on Saturday.

The country's prime minister had originally said she would stand down last Monday.

"In her wisdom, the president has made a decision to resign and prevent the constitutional crisis", Mr Mohamed told the private radio station. "In the country's best interests she has chose to leave", the lawyer said.

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Ameenah Gurib-Fakim submitted her resignation in the "national interest", her lawyer Yousouf Mohamed told reporters Saturday, according to local news reports.

Gurib-Fakim, has been accused of using a bank card provided by an NGO to make personal purchases and will step down after ceremonies to mark the 50th anniversary of independence on March 12.

Prime Minister of the nation Pravind Jugnauth had threatened to force Gurib-Fakim out of her position which is largely ceremonial.

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In May 2016, she received a credit card to pay for travel and logistical expenses tied to her role but claims she inadvertently used it for unrelated expenses. After telling the London-based charity she'd used their card for about US$27,000 of "out-of-pocket expenses", she immediately reimbursed the institute in addition to other expenses incurred on a PEI trip.

In a statement to the BBC, PEI London said that Ms Gurib-Fakim had refunded the money to its Mauritian sister organisation.

However it was not just the expenditure that provoked anger in Mauritius, but the president's association with Angolan billionaire Alvaro Sobrinho who helped found the PEI and is himself being investigated in Switzerland and Portugal for suspected fraud.

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Facing pressure from the opposition, Gurib-Fakim resigned shortly afterward from her role at the PEI.